The COVID-19 pandemic stopped the world in its tracks more than a year ago and continues to debilitate lives and livelihoods globally. More than 4.5 million people have died from complications related to the virus and more than 215 million people have been afflicted and billions of lives plagued. This pandemic has undoubtedly affected us all, emphasizing challenges surrounding the fragility of our health. Admittedly, as aspects of our lives even healthcare workers deprioritise.
Human behaviours challenged
It will stand as one of the fastest, most sweeping shifts of human behaviour in modern history. We saw medical evidence guide policy and decision making, analysing data and assessing risks, as it should be. We also saw the rise of myths and conspiracy theories digitally transmit faster than the spread of the virus itself, creating a pandemic of misinformation and fearmongering.
Then the Delta variant emerged
According to data shared by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the Delta variant is more infectious and leading to increased transmissibility when compared with other variants. In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with the original virus that causes COVID-19.” What is more troubling is the data that suggests, “the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated persons.”
The Pandemic of the Unvaccinated
Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern.
“The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people can get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) but this occurs significantly less often than unvaccinated people” shares CDC. Hospital admission data also reveal huge disparities in their vaccinated versus unvaccinated caseloads, a visual demonstration that vaccines are highly effective in educating persons on the risks and certain states in the US are utilising these images to counter Vaccine hesitancy.
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F Etienne recently shared, “Every person in a vulnerable group that is hesitant to get the vaccine can become part of the sad statistics, one of the thousands of deaths that occur daily due to COVID-19. Misinformation is one of the most serious threats to public health, and it is most damaging when it fuels vaccine hesitancy,
“Vaccines are saving lives now and will contribute to control transmission in the near future when we achieve high immunization coverage. The benefits of these vaccines in preventing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths outweigh the risks of side events,” Dr Etienne noted.
go above and beyond
Health-care workers have continued to provide care for patients despite exhaustion, personal risk of infection, fear of transmission to family members, illness or death of colleagues, and the loss of many patients. Amnesty International recently shared, at least 17,000 health workers have died worldwide from COVID-19.
Amongst this tragedy, are stories of frontliners who defied the odds, patients surviving lengthy hospital stays and fighting the virus despite age or other medical conditions.
This edition of HEALTH PLUS pays tribute to our Vaccine Ambassadors, our selfless volunteers and the unwavering service from our frontline workers.
Let us learn, relearn, innovate, and evolve quicker than this virus has been.