Do the right thing

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It was a sobering news item yesterday on our morning newscast: that five of our loved ones here in Antigua and Barbuda had succumbed to the coronavirus, in the space of forty-eight hours. Our hearts certainly go out to the grieving families; we feel their pain; we are touched with their sorrow and loss. As John Donne wrote in NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less . . . any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Indeed!

Of course, it is with a great deal of foreboding and dread that many of us now check our electronic devices, especially when we see the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) logo. What could be this new set of ghastly news from our main medical facility? Suffice it to say, these past few days have been particularly hurtful, our worst fears are always confirmed – that another brother or sister has left us on account of Covid. The age of the deceased is given in the SLBMC release, as well as the obligatory words of condolence from the management and staff of the hospital. With each death, another piece of us dies. Talk about a daily diet of bad news! (By the way, we shudder at the thought of what the next dashboard will reveal. As you are aware, we had our highest dashboard tally yet, 131 cases, published September 12).  

As death stalks the land, we are given to pondering our own mortality; many of our hearts fail us for fear, because we are so interconnected, and this new Delta variant is so very contagious. Seems, notwithstanding the fact that the onset of Covid drastically changed the rules of engagement and interaction, we remain apprehensive.

Naturally, we must be proactive in protecting ourselves.  If we’ve said it once here at NEWSCO, we’ve said it a thousand times, and we will never tire in repeating that the vaccination’s the thing. It will reduce the chances that we get the virus, and if we do get it, we will not become dangerously ill or die as a result. It is the best thing that we have in these perilous times. We also strongly urge all Antiguans and Barbudans to abide by all the protocols that have kept us safe so far. Even after vaccination. We’re talking about the consistent wearing of masks, the good social distancing, the frequent washing of hands, and dumping our clothes in the wash upon our arrival at home. One caller to our VOICE OF THE PEOPLE broadcast also suggested that we immediately wash our faces with soap and water, upon our return to our homes. Remember, the Delta variant is a word that rhymes with ‘witch!’

Meanwhile, we must refrain from touching our faces and hugging and kissing and fraternising. Gatherings are a no-no. And these protocols must be in conjunction with good exercise, good dietary habits and a good regimen designed to boost our immune systems. Don’t forget a good night’s sleep! Our bodies need the recuperative rest, especially in stressful times such as these. Gargling with a good mouth wash is also helpful, and we must regularly clean our work spaces and other frequently touched surfaces.

Based on the dire warnings from those in high places, the SLBMC is at, or near capacity, and we still do not have the use of the hospital facilities on Nugent Avenue. It is a dastardly shame that this administration failed to follow through on its grand promise to rehabilitate this hospital as a matter of urgency. Not that we are surprised. This administration has an alarming record of talking much and delivering little. Precious little! History will not absolve them of fiddling while Covid raged, much as Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Again folks, we adjure you: do the right thing! Remember, “Each vaccinated, all protected!” It is not a partisan issue!

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