Protect yourself against the COVID-19 variants

Dear Editor,
The COVID-19 pandemic is decimating lives by the millions worldwide: It is practically impossible that anyone can be found who has not lost a loved one or associate to the dreaded virus.
Despite this reality, it boggles the mind why persons continue to ignore COVID protocols, refuse to take the requisite vaccines and consequently endanger their own and the lives of family members, friends, associates, and even innocent persons who are forced to expose themselves to infected persons because of their jobs; persons like taxi and bus drivers, salespersons, employees in goods and services sectors, private and public sectors and various work environments, like construction, vendors, shopkeepers, et cetera.
There are posts on social media, especially during festive occasions or commemorative celebrations, where absolute irresponsibility and lack of respect for their own and the lives of others is on full display by celebrants. They ignore the fact that the virus is not discriminatory and affects everyone, including health personnel.
At a press conference recently, featuring President Dr Irfaan Ali, Health Minister Frank Anthony, and senior health sector personnel, persons were urged to take the necessary precautions, follow rules, and observe protocols, not only to avoid infection and/or spread of the disease but in a national cooperative effort to eliminate the virus in its entirety countrywide and restore life in Guyana to normalcy.
While the President asserted that the Government has the requisite capacity to effectively manage the current situation, he warned that the dynamics can change day to day if hordes of people continue to flout the rules and refuse to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. While the Government is quick on the uptake – being first to acquire vaccines, first to obtain booster shots and children’s vaccines and making every possible effort to curtail the spread of the disease, with the critical oxygenation needs being enough, there is continual preparation to treat emerging variants.
The team urged that persons heed the fact that the virus is easily transmissible and deadly, especially the Delta variant, although the Omicron is more infectious. Each person – President Ali, Dr Anthony and the other health personnel stipulated the importance of wearing masks properly, covering the face from nose to chin, and always following COVID-19 guidelines, especially social distancing and sanitising.
Infected persons can be asymptomatic, which means they can be carriers and can unknowingly infect innocent persons with whom they come in contact, especially vulnerable, susceptible family members, such as children and elderly and/or sick relatives. The emerging mutations and diverse variants, such as Omicron and a flu-like mutation, with Omicron, projected to be more dominant are changing the dynamics into fluidity that may very well prove more deadly than the first wave of the pandemic. I wonder how many persons are grieving today that their irresponsible, selfish actions in pursuit of enjoyment of the moment – gyrating to loud music and getting close and personal to partners without masks on a dance floor; or simply removing masks in a close grouping for photo shoots may have ensued in the suffering or even demise of a loved one.

Yours very truly,
Attiya Baksh