The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

TMID Editorial: Covid-19 - Spiralling out of control

Monday, 19 October 2020, 09:50 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Covid-19 situation is quickly spiralling out of control. The authorities won’t admit it, but this is the stark truth, and the effects could be disastrous.

Over the past few days we have seen record numbers of daily cases. On Saturday, a whopping 204 new cases were found. Yesterday there were 142 new cases.

Despite the efforts of the authorities in the first months of the pandemic, despite the restrictive measures and the increase in testing, the numbers are so high now that one wonders whether the health system will cope if these figures are sustained over the coming days.

ADVERTISEMENT

There are now well over 1,200 active cases, and the number of patients being treated in hospital, while still relatively low, is increasing at a worrying pace.

The measures announced on Friday evening by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne were well overdue. Yes, the wearing of masks at all times is uncomfortable, yet this is a reality we must accept, a responsibility that is required from all of us.

The announcement that enforcement will be stepped up once more was also welcome. Enforcement had become lax, if non-existent, when numbers were down. The current situation shows that the rules need to be enforced constantly, not only when the numbers start shooting up.

The 11pm curfew on bars, on the other hand, left many of us perplexed. Many have asked what difference it makes to close down the bars at 11pm and not, say, at 9pm. A lot of banter has ensued on the social media, with many joking that the virus only starts attacking people from 11pm onwards, but the truth is that this is no laughing matter.

45 people have died so far during the pandemic, and whether they had underlying conditions or not, Covid-19 ultimately caused their death.

If the current spike continues, we may well see some economic sectors close down again, and the consequences of a second partial lockdown will be more severe. There is also the situation of schools to consider. The two teaching unions are uncomfortable with the situation and more strikes are on the horizon. There must be a plan in place for the eventuality that schools are closed down again.

But the responsibility does not only lie with the authorities. It also lies with each and every one of us. The truth is that we have become complacent. We have become so accustomed to the pandemic that we have started to let our guard down. We think that, because ‘only’ 45 people have died, rather than the tens of thousands that were originally estimated, we are fine and there is no need to panic or overdo things.

But this is not just about Covid deaths. It is also about the effects that rising numbers could have on our economy, our jobs, our way of life and our children’s education.

We have seen this happening earlier this year, and no one liked the situation back then. The thing is, if we do not do our part and act responsibly, we will end up in a much worse situation. There is only so much the authorities can do. So much depends on us. 

  • don't miss