How are we going to overcome the Coronavirus?
All over the continent, including in Malta, the welfare of people at risk, specifically the elderly, those who suffer from particular medical conditions and people with a disability, is being given high priority. This means the closure of certain economic sectors and the public being encouraged to stay at home. This translates into millions of euro being lost daily in our country.
This measure against the Coronavirus can, in fact, actually cause more harm that the pandemic itself. The slowing down of economic activity, the closing of frontiers, the imposition of lockdowns in some countries and the efforts to take radical security measures will most likely lead to a huge recession across Europe.
No one knows when this crisis will be over. This virus can continue to impact us for weeks or even months to come. I have my doubts about the extent to which European countries, however economically well off they may be, can compensate citizens for the income they are losing and prevent thousands of companies from going bankrupt – at least not in the long-term. The Maltese Government has allocated financial aid for workers and their families, as well as for businesses. However, this financial package is not benefiting everyone; whole sectors and tens of thousands of workers were left teetering on the edge of ruin.
Over and above this, if we are serious about minimising the pressure on our national health system, we need to lower the rate of infection over a period of many months. Social distancing will help to minimise the spread of the virus, but it will not stop the spread altogether. The local health experts are telling us that we have not yet hit the peak of this virus. We have to accept the fact that more people are going to be infected and we can have more deaths.
In the meantime the public is still being encouraged to act sensibly, follow the advice given by the health authorities and stay at home as far as possible. Or we will be sorry. We should not all stop what we are doing to listen to Prof. Charmaine Gauci every day at noon simply to have something to gossip about!
The public is constantly being exposed to these messages but it is never enough. Until a vaccine or some other medical remedy is developed, this is the only way we have to contain the virus. These are the tools that we have in hand at the moment. We need to use them.