Editorial comment: COVID-19 deaths

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong stresses a point during the joint press conference between Ministry of Tourism and Police. Picture: RAMA

When Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong announced seven new COVID-19 deaths for the seven days to Tuesday, January 11, bringing the virus death toll to 721, there has to be some concern.

He revealed this in a COVID-19 update on Wednesday this week, when he also announced 2165 new cases. In the past seven days until January 11, he said, 1124 new cases were recorded in the Central Division, 841 new cases in the Western Division, 12 new cases in the Eastern Division, and 188 new cases in the Northern Division.

Six of the new deaths reported had pre-existing medical conditions, he said.

The seventh COVID-19 death, we learn, was a fully vaccinated 53-year-old female from the Central Division who died at home on January 10. Five people were fully vaccinated, one was partially vaccinated and one was not vaccinated.

Our total number of deaths linked to the virus is too high. We are reminded about how our numbers rose during the second wave which started in April last year.

Now we are told the Omicron variant was already in the community well before the initial announcement was made about the cases in quarantine. Now that we are into the third wave, we are reminded about all the negative impacts. We are reminded about vigilance and adherence to safety measures.

Ultimately, the onus is on us as individuals to do the right thing and fight this virus. With the State pretty much adamant about the resumption of schooling, we are reminded about what we must do. Perhaps this is an apt opportunity for us all to be reminded about how deadly this virus is. We are not immune to its negative impact either.

So bearing that in mind, we have to adhere to all the safety rules. Again, our death rate is quite high. It is a sad reflection of how we addressed the second wave.

We look up to the powers that be to positively guide us through the third wave now. In saying that, we are also reminded about our roles in this campaign.

Far too many people appear to be taking things lightly, living with the mistaken belief that they can discard the rules, and flirt with danger.

They forget the questions that linger about whether our health system is ready for an explosion in cases.

They forget about pressure on the system, and whether appropriate treatment and access to that would be readily available in the event of a sudden rise in cases. Our challenge is to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

That must become our priority. So we must plan to stay well and safe. Be aware, and be vigilant!

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