Lessons Bahrain and the world learnt from the pandemic
By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood
When in doubt or fear – laugh! That could very well be the reaction of the human race if the memes and jokes about COVID-19 are anything to go by.
The news coming out of China is grim with two new variants laying vast swathes of the population low.
Cases are spiking and these new variants seem to have travelled out to other parts of the world as well.
This shadowy warning of a possible new epidemic has led to a hysterical round of jokes, as if we plan to scare off the virus with our laughter.
But in truth, what we all need to do is re-learn the old lessons so newly forgotten!
Learn to once again practice caution with properly work masks, frequent hand-washing and maintaining safe distancing in public.
We also need to sort out what is absolutely essential in terms of travel and gatherings so as to avoid exposure to danger and build a firewall that the virus will be unable to cross easily.
This time round, even though the experts say the vaccines and boosters are ineffective against the variants which attach the upper respiratory tract immediately, the fact is many of us are partially protected by vaccination and/or recovery from a bout of COVID-19.
The world can ill-afford another crippling bout of the pandemic – both economically and socially.
Remember though, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to declare an end to the COVID public health emergency introduced in January 2020.
But one lesson we must remember and work around is that there are many parallel health concerns to fight.
Data show that the pandemic has disrupted all kinds of healthcare, from childhood immunizations to fighting malaria and the return of polio and programmes for cancer screenings.
Life expectancy in some countries has fallen, while mental health concerns have skyrocketed.
And the impacts of long COVID are just being recognized. Clearly, COVID is a long-staying guest.
There is no need to pamper the virus with extra attention at the risk of ignoring the other dangers to our well-being.
An all-round holistic vigilance is more effective than unnecessary panic.
Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism