The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

TMID Editorial - Covid-19: More silence amid a new spike

Saturday, 25 June 2022, 10:05 Last update: about 3 months ago

Malta reached an ugly milestone yesterday with the total number of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic exceeding the 100,000 mark.

The number of daily cases has been increasing sharply, and more people have died of Covid so far this year than in the whole of 2021.

The death toll has now reached 740, but 263 of those patients died between January and June of this year, well over a third.

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Yet despite the increasing cases numbers and the climbing death toll, Covid-19 seems to have been all but forgotten. The masks are gone, the mass events are in full swing and only those who were seriously sick with Covid, the vulnerable or those have lost loved ones seem to be taking precautions nowadays.

While the return to normality was a welcome move, we cannot forget that the pandemic is still very much with us, and that people are still dying from it. We cannot forget that there are people among us who are very vulnerable to the virus and who could end up in hospital with severe complications, or worse …

The worst part is that, yet again, we are experiencing total silence from the health authorities amid a Covid spike.

The health superintendent, Charmaine Gauci, has not briefed the media and the public for months. The authorities stopped publishing cases numbers a long time ago. There have been no more briefings about the reason behind the rise in case numbers, no explanation as to what is causing the spike in infections. There are no more appeals from the authorities, no guidance. There are no updates on the vaccination drive and the next round of boosters. There is only silence.

We are in no way advocating for a return of restrictive measures, but the authorities should at least keep the public informed about the latest developments. Perhaps they could tell us how the virus is being transmitted now so that those who care can avoid going to certain places or events. While we have become accustomed to living with the virus, the people have a right to be informed.

Yet the information is not forthcoming. Gauci had for a number of months limited herself to giving weekly interviews with a local newsroom but that seems to have stopped too. Nowadays, there is no way to ‘Ask Charmaine.’ And questions to the health authorities often go unanswered.

While there might be no need for the daily briefings to return, we feel that the health authorities should provide some sort of information to the public. Perhaps even a simple press release would suffice.

Some people are legitimately concerned about the ongoing spike, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, yet no one is answering their questions.

Case numbers started increasing over two weeks ago, but no one in government has seen fit to comment about the latest developments.

It is true that Covid-19 spikes have become the norm at certain times of the year and there is probably no reason to panic, but this does not mean that the authorities should not provide at least some basic information to the public.

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