Third wave: No end in sight to COVID-19

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THE resurgence of the COVID-19 virus in the form of the raging third wave has served to remind the world, Zimbabwe included, that the deadly pandemic is still very much with us.

This is the second time the pandemic has come back with vengeance after an apparent false lull.

We still remember how the December 2020-January 2021 second wave was more vicious than the first as testified by the rise in the number of both infections and mortality rate.

The latest wave is proving to be even more devastating than the previous two.

On Friday July 16 alone, a record 102 people died in one day.

The statistics are indeed very grim as weekly totals of infections continue to surge.

For instance, the week ending Tuesday last week, recorded a total of 8 013 cases.

And in the week ending Tuesday this week, the figure had soared 21 346 new cases.

If this is not a national disaster, we wonder what else it can be.

If this is not grisly enough to shock those still not taking this scourge seriously, then God forbid.

Indeed, complacency has become enemy number one in the fight against this pandemic.

But wait a minute.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that more variants are expected to emerge and the pandemic is ‘nowhere near finished’.

What is frightening is that as the virus mutates, the resultant new variants are likely to be even more deadly and highly transmissible.

We must protect ourselves against this virus.

For some weird reasons, some tend to ignore the basic WHO guidelines. 

Key to preventing transmissions remains proper wearing of masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene. 

Crucial among restrictions in the present Level Four lockdown measures is an attempt to limit mobility and crowding.

Crowding without paying heed to physical distancing is prevalent at bus stops, market places and funeral wakes, among other centres.

These are the occasions which have developed to be super spreaders of this deadly virus.

Scenes at funerals are particularly disturbing.

You find people wrapping into each others’ arms and shaking hands.

Body viewing and night vigils with singing and dancing are no longer safe practices.

Unnecessary travel is discouraged and this is not limited to inter and intra city travel only.

There is this case of a family which was infected by the virus after what was intended to be a goodwill visit by a friend, who was an asymptomatic COVID-19 victim. 

The message which is very loud and clear is that, we should stay at home.

That is why the Government has decongested workplaces by trimming the workforce to 10 percent, with the rest working from home. 

This is a trend worth emulating in other sectors to stop the spread of the virus.

However, the surest way to neutralise a virus attack in advance is to be inoculated, as the vaccine doses boost the immune system. 

On its part, the Government deserves a pat on the back for its determined effort to subdue the pandemic.

The vaccination rollout programme has been enhanced by the steady delivery of vaccine doses whose cumulative total will be 7,76 million by Sunday – a significant boost to the COVID-19 war chest.

No doubt, the ferocity of the third wave has persuaded some doubting Thomases to think again.

The hesitancy witnessed when the jab was introduced, seems to have gone as witnessed by the thousands queueing at health centres daily.

Well over one million have already received their first dose.

But we still have a long way to go, as we have to touch the 10 million mark, to achieve herd immunity. 

This is the threshold required to break the chain of transmission. 

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