EUROPE is once again the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic. Surprisingly the continent seems to have just gone back to the early months of 2020 when it was the epicentre with Italy being the worst hit then.
Whatever has happened to such an industrialised region to go right back to the beginning? Among the countries making headlines lately is Europe’s greatest economy – Germany. The country is in a surging fourth wave and the situation is not looking good at all.
Some of the latest statistics are alarming. For instance according to the Robert Koch Institute of Health surveillance, there were 50, 196 additional Covid-19 cases in a period of 24 hours, with 235 deaths this week.
The fuel for the wave is blamed on the Delta variant which is more virulent than the previous ones that have been around. And there is also concern over the circulating Delta plus variant.
There is also blame on the majority who are not vaccinated, with the German Health minister calling the current surge the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
At the moment, Germany’s vaccination rate is around 67 percent, it is not among the best in Europe but surely can’t be compared to that of many African countries with most only having vaccinated less than two percent of their populations.
The vaccine irony in Germany is intriguing as the country contributed to the formation of one of the top Covid-19 vaccines: Pfizer–BioNTech. Among the vaccinated there is a lot of break through infections as well contributing to the high numbers.
ICUs ARE FULL..BUT…
ICUs are getting filled up with an endless stream of very sick Covid-19 patients. All the patients are in need of very high oxygen support otherwise they would die. And even most of the general wards are being converted to Covid-19 wards, elective surgeries are being cancelled.
The local media reports that doctors in the intensive care Covid-19 ward at Leipzig University Hospital warn this fourth wave could be the worst yet. There is a woman in her 20s, who just given birth. Her baby is said to be fine, but the staff say they don’t know whether she’ll survive.
…BUT WITH VERY FEW FRONTLINERS – ‘THE ENDAGERED SPECIES’
Despite the filled up ICUs, the manpower to handle the situation is getting less and less as most health care workers (Frontliners) in Germany have quit their jobs.
Most cite being physically and mentally burned out and feel like they are stuck in a roller coaster fighting a never ending battle. This has left a lot of work and pressure on the few that are still holding on.
The fight against Covid-19 is useless without a dedicated team of Frontliners, but most are quitting in America and Europe especially.
Even the morale of most of those health care workers who are still working is said to be going down. “It’s very difficult to get staff motivated to treat patients now in this fourth wave,” says Professor Sebastian Stehr as quoted by the media. Professor Stehr, who heads one the hospital departments. “A large part of the population still underestimates the problem.”
By now, Prof Stehr says, most people will know someone who’s had Covid-19 and should, therefore, be aware of the risk of infection. “Nevertheless,” he adds, “we are still seeing so many patients who are not vaccinated.”
Having been on the ground for almost two years now, I know and understand the stress these Frontliners are experiencing. In as much as I may not favour the idea of quitting at the time such as this, those who have left had their personal decisions to make and I respect that.
However, I really sympathise with those who have remained and continue to hold the pressure. Even just one extra hand to hold a slipping oxygen mask on a choking patient makes a difference between life and death.
Please appreciate, respect and treasure those who are sacrificing their lives in this fight. These brave warriors have become like an endangered species that must be protected from “extinction” at all cost because the whole world needs them if we are to win this fight.
SOME SCIENTISTS ARE CALLING FOR A LOCKDOWN.
Most top German scientists are advising the government to go on lockdown if the situation is to be put under control before the peak of winter when the worst is expected.
One of Germany’s top virologists has warned that a another 100, 000 people will die from Covid-19 if nothing is done to halt an aggressive fourth wave.
The outgoing Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel refers to the current situation as “dramatic” while the Chancellor-in-waiting Olaf Scholz is quoted to have told parliament that “Germany should take many more measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and get through the winter.”
The local media also reports that Berlin will soon impose a ban on unvaccinated people from entering restaurants without terraces, bars, gyms and hairdressers.
A negative test will no longer allow access to these public places if users are not vaccinated or cannot prove that they have recovered from the disease. In total, almost 4.9 million people have been infected in Germany since the start of the pandemic.
IT MIGHT BE TIME TO GET BACK TO THE BASICS
It is very clear whatever is going on in Germany and Europe in general is very concerning. Something urgently needs to be done to put the situation under control or else this ticking time bomb might explode with unfathomable consequences.
The whole world is not safe as the same situation can be replicated elsewhere. Experts warn that at the rate Europe is going, they might lose up to half a million lives to Covid-19 by February 2022.
Europe should brace itself for an even terrible winter. There might or might not again be Christmas as we know it this year in Europe.
It is also very clear that vaccines alone won’t guarantee us the victory. Most studies are now showing how their effectiveness wanes off over time.
Booster shots may help with this problem but these are not accessible to everyone at the moment and many still are not keen to take them.
At this point, it might be time to get back to the basics, the simple but effective measures of public health. The good old song of hand hygiene (hand washing and sanitising, masking up especially in public, socialising wisely must be sung all over again
Yes, vaccination should be encouraged but along with these measure if we shall ever see the light of day. At the end of the day life is all about choices, we can choose to obey the rules or disregard them unfortunately here the consequences affect a lot of people.
Most of Europe is already in the fourth wave, it is just a matter of time when African countries (Zambia inclusive) might start seeing a rise in cases spiking into yet again deadly waves. And yet again, it is up to all of us to detonate this Covid-19 ticking time bomb.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
I would like to inform you my beloved readers that I will be unavailable for a while because I will be committed with some other urgent assignment that won’t allow me to continue publishing at the moment.
However, we will continue with the publications especially the running series when I will be back and available. It is my hope and prayer that all the lessons we have shared this far have been very helpful and that they will help you to pass through these tough times.
Please stay safe. God bless you all and God bless Zambia.
ONE ZAMBIA, ONE NATION. UNTIL THEN, ALUTA CONTINUA.