The Malta Independent 10 December 2022, Saturday
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TMID Editorial: Election campaign bringing back high Covid numbers

Tuesday, 15 March 2022, 07:40 Last update: about 10 months ago

Embroiled as we all are in the election campaign – a weak one from both major parties – few have noticed that the Covid-19 numbers are creeping up again.

On the first full day of the election campaign, 21 February, the number of active cases was 765 and, in those days, statistics were showing that the number of new cases was invariably lower than the number of people who recovered from the virus.

Now that we are in the second half of the five-week campaign, we are regularly getting days in which the number of new cases is higher than the number of recoveries, which inevitably means that the number of active cases is moving up too. It is now nearly double to what it was three weeks ago, when the campaign started.

One can only think that this has happened because in the past weeks the major political parties have daily held several activities in which hundreds of people gathered in one place. Both the Labour Party and Nationalist Party speak of having controlled situations, in which people are sitting down during so-called rallies addressed by the respective leader.

Nonetheless, crowds are gathering under enclosed tents and meeting up in clusters before, during and after, and this means that occasions are being provided for the virus to spread.

Apart from this, individual candidates are holding their own events – coffee mornings, parties and whatnot – during which people are meeting in social circumstances that, again, offer fertile ground for the virus to move from one person to another.

There’s another thing that must be said. We have real doubts as to whether the reality of the numbers is what the daily statistics are showing. Many people have stopped going to officially-recognised clinics to take a swab, and prefer to use kits they buy personally.

One wonders, then, whether they are following quarantine procedures or letting those close to them know if they test positive. Could it be that they are just getting on with their lives, going to work and meeting others, particularly if their symptoms are minimal?

Could there be politicians among them, who are keeping their being positive a secret so as to be able to continue their campaign?

Are we truly getting the real picture? Is the number of people testing positive for Covid, and therefore the number of active cases, much higher than we are being told?

To go back to the election campaign, it must sadly be said that politicians and political parties are not giving a good example.

The authorities defend themselves saying that there is no cause for alarm because the number of people in hospital with Covid is manageable, and is not causing undue stress on the health services.

But we are running the risk of rapid rise in the number of cases similar to what we had in the past months. Remember that the incubation period of the virus is long and it will be after the election that we will know the extent of the damage that has been caused.

We are unfortunately throwing caution to the wind.


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