This has been a very bad week for the fight against coronavirus in Malta.
Out of 768 active coronavirus cases, 506 were registered in the last 7 days. This weekend was not just bad, it was disastrous. The figures of 100 new cases released on Saturday and 90 new cases released on Sunday are alarming indeed. They justifiable give rise to serious concern.
When the Saturday figure of 100 cases in Malta is extrapolated to the United Kingdom it transpires that we are in the same troubled waters. We are slightly worse than Spain, a lot worse than Italy, slightly better than France, three times as bad as Germany, and so on and so forth.
Boris taking action
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce tougher local restrictions on Monday. He is expected to outline plans for a three-tier system, where each region in England is placed into a tier based on the severity of cases in the area.
Prof Peter Horby, a top scientist and Government advisor, said that the UK was at a “precarious point”. He did not exclude the possibility of another national coronavirus lockdown but added that they have to do what they can to avoid that at all costs.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said the UK has reached a “tipping point” in its epidemic, similar to that last seen in March. The seasons were “against us” and the country was running into a “headwind” ahead of the winter months, he warned.
But while speaking to the party faithful on Sunday our Prime Minister did not announce any real measures to combat the possibility of a tsunami of cases now that we are on the threshold of the influenza season.
It is clear that while we were successful in changing the possible tsunami into a wave during the first onslaught of the virus, we are now facing – God forbid – a possible tsunami. A number of professional organisations blame the government. They say that it not only relaxed too soon and too quickly but it also gave mixed messages. In an attempt to ridicule the health authorities- and possibly also Deputy Prime Minister Fearne – who were warning us of the possibility of a second wave, our Prime Minister foolishly said that waves are in the sea and people should enjoy themselves.
Heart wrenching and amoral
The Malta College of Pathologists at the end of September released a statement lambasting political leaders’ continued adoption of a ‘business as usual’ attitude despite an increase in infections, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19. They noted that the latest update by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) at the time of their statement shows that Malta is reporting the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in Europe, with 3.6 deaths per 100,000 population reported over the previous 14 days. Only Spain comes close, with a rate of 3.4.
The pathologists warned that coronavirus pandemic is spiralling out of control. The College said that the escalating number of deaths among the elderly was very upsetting, and was disgusted by the ad nauseam repetition that they had underlying conditions, which was “tantamount to suggesting that they are expendable.” “This is heart-wrenching and amoral,” the MCP maintained.
In dire straits
Only the foolish do not realise that we are in dire states.
This is not the time for the union of nurses to decide not to let its members inoculate people against the influenza virus. Whatever their complaint is, it pales into insignificance when compared to the possible disaster that can happen if people are not inoculated. The country can then be faced by a double whammy of coronavirus and influenza. The medical services will probably collapse if faced by such an eventuality.
However people need to shake off their complacency. The virus will not be defeated if people continue to behave as if it were business as usual. It is not business as usual even if some official attitude or statement can make people believe that this is the case.