I am certainly not a doomster.  I live my life always looking at the brighter side of life. 

However, something I read during the week, scanning through some foreign and local newspapers is awakening fears in me, thinking we may be in for a Covid eventuality.

 A fourth Covid variant is already in, according to the United Kingdom’s (UK) Daily Mail newspaper. 

The newspaper reported last Wednesday that a new variant named AY4.2 is spreading and may be driving the rise in the country’s current Covid cases.  This new variant, the country’s Scientists say, is an offshoot of the Delta variant, more infectious than the original Delta. 

Per the report, the newest variant is currently seen in nearly one in ten cases and spotted in nearly every part of England.  It made up nearly 10 per cent of UK infections by the first week of October.

Season of caution

With my country on my mind, especially as we draw closer to entering the eleventh month of the year, it is an early warning for us to pinch and remind ourselves that the season of caution is just close by.  The pandemic is still hanging around us.

Last year this time, our Covid-19 cases were going down remarkably.

However, we took a worse turn with careless attitudes towards the required protocols.  Face masks were dropped, gatherings paced up and handwashing practices ignored. 

Complacency took over our lives and attitudes towards the pandemic.  We went into the general election, followed immediately by the holiday season with all kinds of plans for the celebration and merriment that usually characterizes Christmas and New Year.

Many were of the hope that 2021 was going to be a better year away from Covid. 

Unfortunately, the third wave hit us early in the New Year and the new variant of the virus, Delta, then described as the most infectious, overtook us. The result? We soon to realise in March-April, a high rise in our infection rates and deaths.

If one’s past is indeed a lesson into the future, then as one prepares to end the year, one should be preparing one’s self for another rude entry – a fourth wave. Why? 

Over the last few months, we seem to be getting complacent with Covid protocols. 

Many organisations have packed away their handwashing stations. A lot more people are not wearing their masks even in open spaces. Offices and workplaces are gradually opening up.

Social gatherings

Social gatherings, especially funerals are going on like never before lasting beyond the stipulated two hours.  As for social distancing, one hardly sees it as a practice except in some banking halls.

The regular weekly case updates we were getting from the Ghana Health Service and which somehow wakened us up a bit, have all dried up.  And when all the laxity happens, many begin to think the virus has abated and therefore time to begin plans for celebrations.

For as long as a greater majority of our population has not even had their first dose of the vaccine, we are all not safe to be out there unguarded.

The true fact is that Covid-19 is still lurking around and therefore a big caution to hasten slowly with plans for social gatherings where the vaccinated are mixing with the asymptomatic and the non-vaccinated.   

This pre-Christmas season is the time we need to heighten communication around the risks as one prepares to go into the festivities with social gatherings prime on the agenda.    

The Ghana Health Service will do well to give us frequent updates and warnings on our infection rates. 

The media needs to intensify information and education on the infection and the continued impact on families.

The Ghana Airports Company is doing a great job in conjunction with the Ghana Health Service at the Kotoka International Airport but there is more to do in anticipation of the fourth wave-making entry through KIA.

Churches and workplaces should revise their notes in terms of strict adherence to protocols and practise safety first.  The same goes with schools as we are beginning to experience much younger people of school-going age getting infected.

We cannot afford to be complacent like we did last year and got caught pants down with the Delta variant.

So, without sounding like a doomsayer, it is time to buckle up with our Covid protocols, reinforce all preventive measures wherever we find ourselves and stick to the public health measures we have been advised on since the pandemic outbreak. 

It may sound bleak but the good news is that even though there may not be enough vaccinations currently, strict preventive measures can sail one through.


The writer can be contacted via email at vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com  

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