Tuesday 5 September 2023

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - LXXI

It is still out there

I had not considered returning to this topic even though it is reasonable to think that the Coronavirus is still out there. I have not written on this title since January, and that is how we seem to have forgotten about it. Yet, on asking after someone in church after the service on Sunday, I learnt that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Then, as I walk around my city, in the daytime and at night, the years 2020 and 2021 seem a blur, and one is left asking, what really happened? The whole world came to a standstill and all I could think of was how and when I could be with Brian again.

We did get time together despite the restrictions in December 2020 and then a year later into 2022, we made the best of it and then in July of that year. However, a new Covid-19 variant denoted BA.2.86 known as the Pirola variant is becoming a cause for concern.

We should all calm down

The doomsayers and alarmists are already magnifying their voices on various platforms to scare us, including the untenable Donald Trump who released a political video with more populist dread and no public health concern. I am not going to project his nonsense here.

The impression is that the Pirola variant is not causing more severe illness and the current vaccines are effective against it. The said vaccines are constantly being updated to tackle new variants. [CDC: Risk Assessment Summary for SARS CoV-2 Sublineage BA.2.86]

Why Pirola which in Galician connotes vulgarity was chosen as a designation escapes me as I am not aware that follows the known Greek alphabet. Maybe, it is the new Summer of Love.

Measure the risk factors

Obviously, this means one has to consider one’s risk profile and exposure. My encounter with strangers or crowds is mainly at church with strangers usually as a welcomer and with people I know at typical church services. The recently concluded Manchester Pride weekend and other events crowded out the city, but my only participation out of the 4 days of revelry was to watch the Pride march outside my door and then steward the Pride Eucharist at the cathedral.

Much as I avoid crowds and enclosed places, the use of hand sanitisers might be prudent just as the consideration of wearing a face mask again. Only two days ago, someone put out a bag of unused face masks and other bathroom goods, I took a handful of face masks and a sponge for myself.

Just be careful, not carefree

Looking at the statistics and the trends, the UK is at 6 for the number of deaths per country, and higher than any of our proximate European neighbours in the number of deaths per million in population. We can get the statistics to tell all sorts of stories depending on inclination or persuasion. [WorldOMeter: Coronavirus]

For those of us who have avoided any infection, vigilance and caution should guide us without acquiring fear or anxiety about doing what we need to do. I have kept up on recommended jabs, 6 at last count and the flu jab season is already upon us, as it is September. One thought I will refuse to entertain is to see the likes of 2020 in the future.

For the blessed assurance of wellness, safety, and security, Psalm 91:3 never fails to provide a guarantee, “For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” [Bible Gateway: Psalm 91 (NLT)]

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