COVID’s greatest challenge yet

For more than 16 months, COVID-19 has been top of the news agenda, the subject of pretty much all discussion around the globe, with 3.12m deaths and a huge economic and commercial cost.

The pandemic has altered the way we do things. Expressing emotions. Communicating. Congregating with our loved ones. Yet, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Vaccines have brought hope to the world.

Countries introduced different measures to control the spread of the virus whilst their people are being inoculated in the largest vaccination campaign the world has ever seen.

Of course, there are still countries facing huge perils. India is certainly one of them. Its demographics play a huge role in its dire straits situation and I believe that coordinated humanitarian aid is essential.

The discussion on vaccines has shifted on numerous fronts, from numbers available, to the number of people vaccinatedin different countries, to possible side effects, particularly from Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and finally the question mark over whether to give a third dose.

Post-COVID theories and strategies started at the very beginning of the outbreak. It was only natural for all of us, in maintaining a sane mind, to think about how we could bounce back.

Governments around the globe, including Malta, are now launching their economic recovery plans.

Although re-estabilising and revitalising economies around the globe will be a mammoth task for every government, especially in those countries that were already in a challenging situation pre-pandemic, the greatest task the world now faces is to re-establish normality not only in our way of life, but in the way we think.

The greatest task the world now faces is to re-establish normality not only in our way of life, but in the way we think.

People have been listening and reading about COVID for months on end, with media houses sounding warnings, at times almost fomenting fear and panic with tabloid style stories rather than well researched pieces, medical bulletins with healthcare professionals being ultra-careful not to strike the wrong tone and risk their advice being jeopardised; and politicians being wary of consequences that might arise and weighing their moves very carefully. This has been accompanied by a huge drive to sanitise hands, wear masks, avoid crowds and remain aware of possible effects of COVID, especially on vulnerable and senior citizens.

Of course, the same is true in Malta. Many have been glued to their newsfeeds, comparing numbers of new cases and administered doses from previous days and looking forward to the relaxation of measures. We now have to join forces and do our part to shift to ‘the normality’ we have been longing for from the very beginning.

In this sense, the media plays a crucial role, especially if numbers start to crawl back up once the tourism season kicks off. COVID will leave many wounds, but we should pull together and prepare for the greatest challenge yet. It’s not a question of simply lowering our guard, becoming reckless or not giving a fig, but contributing towards a healthy society and moving forward without looking back.

Our country needs this, our planet needs this.

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