Christmas 2021 is a mere two days away. By now most of the gifts would have been bought, wrapped and placed under the trees. The exception, of course, is the procrastinators and those still looking for last-minute deals on gifts.
Many homes with Caribbean heritage have by now bottled their sorrel and other favorite drinks, covered up the delicious Christmas cakes and baking delicacies and applied the last chops or sprinkles of seasonings on their meats.
For those of us who made it through this year, enough gratitude cannot be expressed for having the breath of life. 5.37 million persons worldwide were robbed of this opportunity because of the wretched covid virus. In 21 Caricom countries, 10,587 persons left us because of 436,691 reported cases.
Christmas should be a happy and joyful period. It is a time of celebration and family togetherness. Unfortunately, because of the actions of some, our activities will not be normal for the second straight year. There was hope for a brighter Christmas in mid-October when the number of cases reported was dipping below 404,000 cases on a 7-day average. Now that number is nearly 667,000.
Governments continue to take actions aiming to reduce the heavy toll on economies, social lives, and livelihood. They have tried hard to put in place measures to balance mitigation with livelihood. This covid virus has become an existential threat and there seems to be no light or end to the tunnel. The diverse and polar views that we take to end this menace are not helping to pull us out of this crisis either. People are still refusing to wear masks, keep away from crowds, or get vaccinated, even though the evidence and scientific data suggest that these measures will reduce community spread, the severity of illness, and deaths.
In the US, the CDC predicted that up 13,000 more deaths could occur by January 15, 2022. Worldwide, data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that total deaths could reach 6,420,164 by March of 2022. It is incredible to think that so many lives could be snuffed out when we have some control over the results.
Having to mingle pandemic with Christmas is a disastrous mixture that will kill. If you act as if things are normal by where you go, what you, and how you do, then you are putting more than your own life at risk. If death knocks on your door today, would you be willing to take the journey? What lengths would you be willing to go, so that your door can be kept closed? What about your family and loves ones? What would you be willing to do to save their lives?
As you enjoy your Christmas this year, be mindful that your actions or lack thereof have debilitating and life-ending consequences. Wear your mask if you must go out. If you must invite family or friends over, make sure they have taken the necessary precautions to protect your life and that of your family. Thoroughly research without bias, the effects of vaccination and make your own judgment on its merit and benefits. If you must attend crowd-gathering events, do not take any chances. Talk to your friends and family about how to protect themselves and encourage them to do the same.
This pandemic will come to an end, just like previous ones. Do you want to be there at the end to celebrate and tell your story? We would love to share your journey. Therefore, we are imploring you to make the best choices this Christmas. It really matters!