Covid-19: Social evolutions and iterations by Femi Onakanre
By Femi Onakanre
The year is 2021. Specifically, the day is 21st, December, 2021. Time, 5:36am. I was going about my usual morning ritual; reflections on the day before, lessons learnt and mistakes made, mental sorting of the new day’s activities, catch up with global developments in business, politics and sports etc. all in the serenaded ambience of light classical music (The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart). The mind swirls in the joy of rediscovered peace, purpose and passive perambulations.
However, I found that I was somewhat unconsciously reluctant to dwell on the major news media channels. The doom and gloom parade ran counter to the mood and mindset I was trying to cultivate. It would appear that every glance at the TV or stations was a reminder that our lives have changed irrevocably, no thanks to Covid-19.
Christmas season is traditionally a time of good cheer and communal joy. Even in the midst of challenges, people always found a way to bond and celebrate. Christmas has become more of a global holiday than a Christian festivity. You do not have to subscribe to the tales of nativity to access your Christmas spirit. It has come to transcend religion, race and rectitude.
The last Covid-19 free Christmas was in 2019. How ironic. The yuletide period of 2020 came with some cheer as hopes of vaccine development and curtailing the rampaging virus had become a reality. We headed into the new year, 2021, bolstered by such reassurances.
However, here we are in December 2021 and news of Omicron, a Covid-19 variant, is one of the biggest news to close the year out. After many months of campaigns to ‘take the jab’, the new corralling line is, ‘go take the booster jab’.
The Omicron variant has found a way to unite the vaxxers and anti vaxxers under the same despiring umbrella. To put this in context, the Delta variant, a mortally egregious evolution of the virus earlier discovered did not raise as much dust.
We are now stuck in a groundhogs’ day of different Iterations of the Covid-19 virus leading those with a dark sense of humor to suggest the Greek alphabets may be insufficient to codify the evolutions.
Whilst Omicron is less fatal, it has been more disruptive in its cameo appearance. In fact, it is reminiscent of the early Covid-19 discovery panic. Now governments are worried about resuming lockdowns whilst the populace have taken to Esther’s resolve in the face of uncertainty.
Big pharma which were previously hailed as saviors of our sanity and humanity are beginning to be viewed with suspicion of greed and commercial motivations. Vaccination has suddenly become simultaneously important and unimportant with each perspective providing solid substantiating submissions.
In some circles, the quick release and application of vaccines is suspected as an enabler for more vicious and virulent evolutions and Iterations of the virus. They remind constantly that we knew too little about the virus for the grand scale of vaccination pursued. What if the virus is ‘learning’? What if it is adapting to the vaccines?
This apocalyptic line of reasoning suggests that the vaccines have given the virus the tools to circumvent the development of natural immunity, which ironically is the ultimate objective of the vaccines!
The pattern of the variants also lends some considered review of this position. The observed trend is that the initial vaccination wave made the virus feel ‘cornered’ and like a wounded animal, it responded with a savage attack, hence the Delta variant.
The reader should recall that what made Covid-19 especially challenging was its 2 pronged attack system; virulent spread across social interfaces and a consistent fatality batting average of 15-20%. The Delta variant had/has a higher fatality percentage but wasn’t as virulent. Enter the Omicron variant.
Agent Omicron is more virulent but significantly less fatal. This deviation is particularly worrying. It would appear that it’s objective is to weaken the universal natural immunity. Using the law of averages, if more people are infected, the front door is opened. Imagine a variant that tries to optimize the virility and fatality of the virus? We are currently, like a discombobulated surfer, in the throes of a 4th wave of the virus and no one will be surprised if more waves come up. The dread is that the momentum of accumulated waves lead to tsunamis. Hello apocalypse.
The fact that I am entertaining this line of reasoning in the build up to Christmas is partly the fault of the panic profiteering news media outlets as well as my natural sense of self preservation.
My advice to all is, as we try to enjoy the season, let us also be mindful of and adhere to Covid-19 public safety protocols. There’s still a lot of time left on the clock in this ball game and prevention, it is sagely advised, is better than cure. But in the case that there is no cure, prevention, vaccination and vaccination boosting is better than infection and death. Happy holidays.
Femi Onakanren is a business development specialist. He writes from Lagos