REFLECTION: Is COVID-19 over yet?

REFLECTION: Is COVID-19 over yet?
'Flattening the curve' by Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has defined the COVID-19 pandemic as the greatest test for humanity since World War II [1]. Regardless of this, we have seen countless non-socially distanced gatherings occurring all over the United Kingdom, whether it be the mass gatherings at beaches or travelling across the country to meet family  [2]. With the government relaxing lockdown restrictions, we have seen the public take a step further; whether it be following the new, reduced restriction rules before their implementation date, or not socially distancing at all when requested to do so by 1 meter instead of 2.

The current pandemic has had a huge impact on our society. Whether it be social distancing, and at times self isolating, or financial implications of the crisis, this event has been hard-hitting. It has also been seen to increase mental health conditions such as anxiety, loneliness, depression [3], as well as a surge in domestic abuse during the lockdown [4]. Further yet, the closing of businesses has hugely impacted the economic status of each country as well as reducing financial stability of individuals [5]. It is very much believed that the lives of youth are not at a real threat from this virus; this has given them reason to forget that not only can it affect them, the impact on others can be quite literally deadly and to test this would be an unacceptable disservice to our communities. All of these factors clearly have impacted people in wanting to break the lockdown rules and relive life as it was before.

As much as I, and many others, sympathise with many of these issues, we must hold our ground and not ignore the extremity of this issue. On the day of publishing this, (September 9, 2020) the UK has seen an additional 2460 lab confirmed cases and 32 deaths [6]. Without even accounting for the fact that the confirmed cases number is an underestimate due to people who are asymptomatic, as well as the UKs underrepresentation of COVID-19 cases, we can see that the pandemic is far from over [7]. The panic that spread across our society when our numbers reached approximately 500 cases per day was rooted in the recognition of the level of threat in front of us. We must not forget that threat now.

With all of this in mind, it is a need of the moment to listen to and act upon the advice of leading health authorities such as Public Health England, the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. We must continue to  use hand sanitiser and wash our hands as often and thoroughly as possible; to socially distance ourselves whenever possible and self-isolate when infected; to use masks, especially in close contact settings and to continue to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces as often as possible [8]. Lives are at risk and we have the opportunity to keep them safe, to endanger them would be insensible. The virus is not over until there are no more cases. Please, stay safe and keep others safe.


Amit Singh
Editor (Health & Medicine)




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