The world has now reached a new grim milestone.
According to official figures released on Saturday, global deaths from COVID-19 has surpassed 3 million worldwide. We are of course very aware that the numbers can be much higher in reality, especially in those countries with poor health service, where many people have died at home without their deaths being officially registered.
In some countries, we also experience unprecedented suffering and mortality as we try to treat and combat COVID-19. In Brazil, for example, there are reports that doctors must tie patients to the hospital bed to keep them ventilated, because supplies of drugs for ventilated patients, particularly neuromuscular blockers and sedatives, are no longer available in-country.
We ask: What awaits us?
We believe there are 3 possible scenarios:
1. Either everyone must make enormous efforts to achieve group immunity worldwide, then this pandemic becomes endemic and will be included in the annual Winter Vaccination Programs.
2. Or the more developed countries achieve group immunity leaving the developing world behind, thus creating an even greater division in inequalities. Due to the pandemic, around 119 to 124 million people were forced into extreme poverty during 2020.
3. Or an even more catastrophic scenario, where those who have received the current vaccines are re-infected with new variants that are far more contagious and deadly, and we all return to where we started at an unthinkable cost and impact on our lives.
Whatever the scenario, more or less catastrophic, it will not be graceful and will not be without the cost of more human lives and suffering.
It is therefore up to each one of us to protect ourselves, our families, and the wider community, rowing together against the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic.