Editorial comment: The key is with us

A Republic of the Fiji Military Forces part of the COVID-19 team assist vehicle owners at the vaccination drive through at Albert Park in Suva on Friday, December 31, 2021. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

In its briefing on Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry of Health reported 52 deaths they determined to be related to COVID-19.

It noted that as experienced in the second wave, adverse health-seeking behaviour and significant co-morbidities remain the main contributing factor.

Out of the 52 deaths, it stated: # 50 died either at home, on the way to a health facility, or on arrival at the health facility.

The other two died within 24 hours of arrival at the health facility; and, # 45 had significant co-morbidities.

Of the seven with no co-morbidity, six were 60 to 92 years old and one was 21 years old which it reported on Monday.

The ministry raised the profile of the vaccination program, suggesting that because of the protection it provided, the reported deaths had been much less compared to the previous wave and it noted deaths had been mostly in individuals with high medical risk and who died, either at home, on the way to the hospital or within a few days of admission.

The 21-year-old did not have any comorbidities, however, he, unfortunately, died at home.

It stated “these two factors also make it difficult to narrate more precisely the extent to which COVID-19 contributes to the death of patients”.

The vaccines, it stated, were 80 per cent protective against severe disease and death…. not 100 per cent.

“As such, if community transmission is high enough, rare outcomes will be more visible.”

It raised the profile of awareness of symptoms of severe COVID-19 disease and early presentation to a health facility when severe symptoms were present.

We are reminded about severe symptoms to look out for which are: having trouble breathing (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), ongoing chest pain, severe headache, confusion, inability to stay awake or wake up, pale, grey or blue coloured skin, lips or fingernails, worsening weakness, coughing blood.

Given the very high number of deaths in the second wave which started in April last year, we are reminded about what should be done in this third wave.

We are reminded about why safety measures must be followed and the need for us to be on top of our game so to speak. What matters now is how well we factor all these into our daily lives.

Our challenge is to do the right thing because we all know by now what must be done to effectively fight the virus.

We know safety tips and we know why they are important. Surely we all want our loved ones to be safe and well. Surely we all want a Fiji that is safe for everyone.

Surely we all want some normality back in our lives even if we are now forced to live the new normal.

The key is with us though!

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