Thursday, September 2, 2021

Where to from here?

 Michael - Thursday

I don't think anyone wants to talk about covid anymore. We've all had enough. We want the "new" normal, assuming we can't have the old normal back. However, that begs the question of what the new normal actually is. I think we all rather naively thought that once reliable vaccines were available we would pretty well be able to resume the lives we led before. Everyone would be vaccinated. Covid would essentially disappear because no one could catch it. Pretty soon it would all be in the rear view mirror.

That vision missed a few important points. In the first place, covid is caused by a coronavirus - the same family as the viruses responsible for the common cold. We keep getting those because they keep mutating and generating new variants. Catching one doesn't protect us from the whole family. Covid is doing the same. A few days ago a new variant was identified in South Africa (although it may have developed elsewhere - it's already been identified in six countries). It's not a variant of concern. Yet.

In the second place, no vaccine provides perfect protection. WHO reckons a 50% efficacy is a satisfactory vaccine. We're immensely fortunate that the RNA vaccines are in the 90% range. It's a great medical science triumph, but they're not magic shields. And there's a more serious problem. Vaccine hesitancy has been growing particularly in countries where there's a substantial distrust of the government. The European democracies seem to have done pretty well; other countries (including the US) not so much. Also, many countries have done little on the vaccination front at this point. Money, infrastructure and distribution are all issues. After some early problems and bad luck, South Africa has done pretty well with about 10% of the population vaccinated. Yet a recent survey suggested that up to half the population is anywhere from nervous about, to dead against, having a vaccine. Hopefully that will improve over time.

Even New Zealand, which seemed to be the unique country that had actually stamped it out, now has 700 active cases.

So what of the future? It seems that the new normal is actually living with covid.  Having booster vaccines (as for flu) every year or six months. Being careful, or not...

Eventually, it has to be everyone's personal choice. As far as I know, no country has made vaccination compulsory for its residents, and I agree with that. Although I am strongly in favour of vaccination, once you start telling people what they must do with their own health and bodies, a basic human right is violated. (Texas, please note.) On the other hand, I think organisations have a perfect right to require it as a condition of entry, employment, etc. But in reality many places will not. 

Personally, I mean to be as careful as possible, but no longer miss out on what I want to do. None of us has that much time.

Where will you go from here?

Lions, Olifants River Game Reserve


  1. Well, Michael., I was with you all the way, right up to and including Bouchercon 2022. But then you threw in that picture of the lions at Olifonts, and now I am overwhelmed with envy. I’ll get over it. We’ll still be friends.

  2. You bring up an interesting point. There's a huge clash coming ( porobably through the courts) about vaccination. Legally, the vaccination status of an individual is protected as it's their medical history. So legally, nobody can ask and demand an answer. So what happens when venues open, for vaccinated folk only?