A third wave of Covid-19 infections may be coming in winter. The virus has changed our lives. The world will never be the same again, in so many ways.
South Africa was a very different place on 5 March, 2020.
We had seen from afar and, almost with detachment, reports about a new virus spreading from China to Europe. People were getting sick and some were dying … but it seemed a long way away.
But exactly a year ago today, coronavirus infection was confirmed in the first South African.
It didn’t take us long to learn that Covid-19 (for corona virus disease, first identified at the end of 2019) was the consequence of infection and that it was deadly, for older people and those with “comorbidities” like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
As the virus replication began to build momentum, President Cyril Ramaphosa put the country into a hard, five-week lockdown on 27 March, the first of many such restrictions based on a “risk level” assessment.
The idea was to slow the spread of the virus to allow our medical facilities time to prepare for the inevitable tsunami of hospitalisations.
These lockdowns further devastated an economy already on its knees after years of looting in the state capture project. Hundreds of thousands lost their jobs and some even lost their lives.
Further suffering was caused by the jackbooted enforcement of lockdown regulations by brutal police and army personnel who cared little for basic human rights.
The jury is still out on whether the restrictions were effective; after all, the Covid-19 death toll has just hit 50 000 and experts believe many more “excess deaths” this year will have been caused by the disease.
Now that we are starting to vaccinate people and now that we are moving out of the deadly second wave of the pandemic, there is little cause for celebration.
A third wave may be coming in winter. The virus has changed our lives. The world will never be the same again, in so many ways.
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