The world has changed. The world we knew is gone. The Coronavirus pandemic, and the world’s response thereto, has been a game-changer is so many ways. Most of us are battling to adjust to the new world we live in. The future seems uncertain in many ways. So it may be helpful to at least have clarity where we can, so some myth-busting and clarification may help some of us…
Covid-19 is NOT a ‘flu but it is similar to a ‘flu. You’ll have heard some people suggest that Coivid-19 is “just another flu”. This is not true. Covid-19 (the illness resulting from infection with the coronavirus first seen in 2019) is more serious than seasonal flu – Covid-19 is more infectious and more deadly than seasonal flu (the stats and the science here is surprisingly complex and still evolving so we’ll skip the details for now). But it IS also an airborne virus that spreads the same way as ‘flu. And it does create an upper respiratory illness (cold/flu) that is, for most people (remember, the vast majority of patients with Covid-19 have no or only mild illness), quite similar to the ‘flu.
All viruses mutate and have variants. A great deal has been said about coronavirus mutation and the resulting variants. And the concern is understandable since a mutating virus is something of a “moving target”. BUT all viruses mutate in this way, and always have done. Indeed, the reason we see new seasonal-flu vaccines each year is because the vaccines are enhanced each year to remain effective against the new variants – this has been the worldwide practice for years now and it works well. So we are not really facing something new here. The big worry, of course, is that a mutation might create a more dangerous variant and while this is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely (nearly all observed or known mutations actually weaken a virus). So the concern is valid, but probably excessive, in this area.
Our hospitals have coped. More or less. Or almost. Or mainly. Perhaps the biggest fear in this pandemic has been that our healthcare system could be overwhelmed (too many patients for hospital capacity) and that we’d then see people dying for want of medical care. While it can be argued that it has been a close-run thing, and while we have seen real overcrowding at times, we have also seen our hospitals and hospital staff rise to the challenges and save lives. Arguably, some deaths might have been avoidable, and this is tragic beyond words, but overall our healthcare systems have done quite well. In particular the partnership between private and public facilities has been important and effective.
Vaccines are safe and effective. Much has been said on this topic and we are going to avoid the detailed science and the anecdotal stories, debates, and so forth. Instead we are going to just say that the available evidence shows all currently available vaccines to be safe and effective. Yes there have been adverse reactions but in tiny numbers such that the real-world risk for most people is extremely small. Not zero risk but very low risk. With major benefits including saving lives. Anyone who has previous allergies to vaccines, or any form adverse reaction to any medication, should be cautious of course. But most of us should get jabbed with confidence, because we can be confident that science has effectively saved the day for us all.
We are not likely to see major lock-downs again. This is controversial, maybe. But our take on things is that the world has learned that hard lockdowns are just not sustainable. It’s financially ruinous and psychologically devastating for many. We will not live that way. We just won’t. In addition, as we can see in much the world already, mass vaccination is the route back to normal (or close). For these two reasons we do not think we’ll see full lockdowns such as we did see in 2020, again. We certainly hope not.
The world has indeed changed. To thrive in the new-normal we need a solid grasp of the situation so we do not confuse ourselves with myths, rumours, falsehoods, maybes, etc. Knowledge, and the ability to discern truth from the rest, will set us free, as it always does. Hopefully this article (and your own research, which we strongly encourage), helps a bit.