As global coronavirus infections crossed the 100 million milestone on Tuesday, the world is bracing for another round of strict measures, including lockdowns, to stop the spread of a new but apparently more aggressive variant of COVID-19.
Although we remain hopeful of the vaccine impact, experts are increasingly convinced that the coronavirus is here to stay, forever. “I believe SARS-Cov-2 is going to stay with humans forever,” says Stephane Bancel, CEO of pharmaceutical company Moderna, which is one of the leading developers of the vaccine.
“We’re going to have boosts adapted to a virus, like we have for flu. It’s the same thing, they are both mRNA viruses, and we’re going to have to live with it forever,” he told media.
Governments alone cannot beat the pandemic. People need to adhere to the basic precautions, wearing the mask, regular sanitisation and maintaining social distance
The bleak assessment is not so different of what others have concluded since the beginning of the new year as new virus strains seem to be more aggressive and faster. That led more and more governments around the world to tighten the health precautionary measures which have been relaxed partially across the world last fall.
In the UAE, for example, social distancing rules are being tightened to slow down the spread of the virus and keep people healthy as the mass vaccine drive continues. So far, almost 2.6 million people have taken the jab.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is about to announce new border restrictions that could include systematic quarantine for all visitors from abroad. French government will discuss on Wednesday whether to put the entire country under a third general lockdown.
France currently has a national 6 PM to 6 AM curfew. German health minister Jens Spahn said last week that the national lockdown, which was to end on 31 January, would remain in place “at least until the end of February or into March.”
The United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) notes that equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs have been lost due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, which is “approximately four times greater than the number lost during the 2009 global financial crisis.”
Despite the economic pain, there is a shared responsibility to stop, or at least, slow down the pandemic. The recent rapid rise in the infection numbers show that a great deal of people have yet to take the threat seriously, which led government to crackdown on reckless behaviour or impose restrictive measures.
But governments cannot beat the pandemic alone. People need to adhere to the basic precautions, wearing the mask, regular sanitisation and keeping their distance.
We may have to live with the virus, but that doesn’t mean we succumb to it.