Editorial comment – Safety first

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (R) takes part in an onstage interview with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson (L) at the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

USA Today reported an interesting case of death by COVID-19 the other day.

The death from COVID-19 complications of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday, it said, could add fuel to those who oppose vaccines, considering his family said he was fully vaccinated.

In reality, though, it stated, Mr Powell’s death at 84 actually underscored the importance of vaccination against the coronavirus.

It reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said among the more than 187 million Americans who were fully vaccinated as of October 12, it had received reports of 7178 deaths from breakthrough infections.

Now that’s an important term to remember – breakthrough infections!

In terms of the figures, that’s one fatality for every 26,000 vaccinated people, a powerful testament to the vaccines’ effectiveness at preserving lives against a disease that has killed nearly 725,000 in the US.

“I’m afraid people will say the vaccine didn’t help him,” it quoted Dr Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“But the mortality rate for vaccinated people is 11 times less than unvaccinated. People still die from the disease, especially if you are 84 and have underlying health risks. He is one of the unfortunate ones, but he was very high risk.”

Mr Powell reportedly had battled Parkinson’s disease and multiple myeloma, a cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infections.

Back to the home front, we are buoyed by the fact that our vaccination numbers are quite high and medical experts are adamant it should stand us in good stead as a nation.

That’s if we are to discuss infection rates, or our ability to combat infection and subsequent hospitalisation.

However, there is the other bit that we must raise as a matter of interest, the fact that we still must remain vigilant.

There can be no substitute for safety, and our willingness to adhere to every COVID-safe measures and health advice.

The bottom line is that we cannot afford to live dangerously now, or moving forward.

The negative impact on our lives and those of our vulnerable population should ensure we are proactive always.

The challenge we have is to stick to the rules. So that means wearing a mask every time we are out in public.

It means been aware of our actions in public, what we do around people, and washing our hands often with soap and water.

The key to staying safe is within us.

How we manage ourselves around others, what we do, what we touch, and knowing why we must embrace all these safety measures are important.

So let’s stay well, and stay safe Fiji!

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