WITH more than five million deaths and some 280 million confirmed cases over the last couple of years, 2021 was no better than its predecessor. In simple mathematical terms, the year was actually worse than 2020, with 60 per cent of the total mortalities taking place last year compared to 40pc in 2020. To all those anti-vaxxers out there, just imagine what it would have been like without the vaccines. It would have been much worse. Indeed, just imagine what it would have been like had there been no anti-vaxxers. It would have been much better.
It was merely Covid in 2020, but the last year saw virus mutations, with Delta, Omicron and a string of variants keeping things tight for the second year running. The impact on mental health became a serious matter of debate and concern, and Finland even came up with the idea of a ‘rage room’ where clients could smash various items to vent their pandemic-related anger with a baseball bat. It was a smashing hit particularly, and interestingly, with the country's women. The other methods tried elsewhere were less dramatic, but the Finnish variety did underline the seriousness of pent-up frustration inside human beings.
Equally frustrated were governments, administrations and health authorities dealing with anti-vaxxers, anti-lockdowners and anti-everythingers defying SOPs and holding protests against attempts to curb the virus spread. For once, there were more such protests in the first world – the West – than in the third world. The government in Germany clearly felt frustrated and issued a stern “vaccinated, cured or dead by the end of the winter” warning to its vaccine-wary citizens.
Pakistan’s internationally recognised Covid response went beyond expectations. Regardless of how it happened, the government deserved a pat on the back for its efforts. What it struggled to handle despite everything was the economic element which was linked to the fate of the global economy which went into a tailspin after being hit by the pandemic.
As the sun started to set on the year, the Omicron variant was just about rearing its ugly head, and some of the earlier restrictions were back in place though not implemented with the earlier zeal yet.