New year, new “things”?

After five years since my first book, my second book has now been published, even amidst a Covid pandemic, the surge of the new variant Omicron, and the thousands and thousands of people infected … in spite of this and in the middle of all this.

The main interest of writing is to communicate, to inform, to share ideas, anguish, joy and sorrow. But for me, it is above all to communicate with those around me, to bring thoughts and stories out into the light – it is my hope that they can be interesting and useful to others, in many different personal levels.

Things are what they are, but they are also what they are because of those they coexist with.

We are living in the middle of terrible confusion and insecurity, and the arrogance of Man has never been so evident.

Nothing is the same anymore, we are in a new world, surrounded by thick fog. What used to be important is now secondary, tomorrow is unpredictable, and what seems to be a disaster for Humans has been enjoyed by Nature. With the pandemic and living in “quarantine”, Man has not had the chance, nor the conditions, to assault Nature as much as he used to.

The arrogance of having the power to control everything must stay in the past, in that far away month of January 2020.

The fact is that we are all playing hide and seek with “the bug”.

Sorry, not all of us … there are those who state that “the bug” is not as bad as everyone says and provide real “bug sheltering”. And then, they “kindly” distribute it, even if no one wants it or asked for it.

Liberty? Democracy? No! The destructive dictatorship of voluntary ignorance.

On January 11, 2022, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said: “Fifty of the 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia have now reported cases of Omicron. It is quickly becoming the dominant variant in Western Europe. At this rate, more than 50% of the population in the Region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks. Data collated in recent weeks confirms that Omicron is highly transmissible as it adheres to human cells more easily and it can infect even those who have been previously infected or vaccinated.”

Dr. Kluge also reiterates that the currently approved vaccines do continue to provide good protection against severe disease and death, including for Omicron.

Due to the unprecedented scale of transmission, COVID-19 hospitalisations are now rising and challenging health systems. In many countries where Omicron has spread with remarkable speed and threatens to overwhelm in many more, once again the greatest burden of responding to this pandemic has been carried by healthcare workers.

And the WHO Regional Director for Europe finalises by saying: “The pandemic stabilisers that have guided our response in recent months are as relevant for tackling Delta or Omicron today as they have ever been. These remain our mantra: 1. vaccination, 2. third doses or boosters, 3. increased mask use, 4. ventilation of closed spaces.”

We are at war with a “bug” we cannot see, but also with the humans that do not understand what is going on around them, or do not want to understand.

The truth is that no army has ever won a war by denying the existence of the enemy or by refusing to use the available necessary defensive arms.

This “bug thing” could not be more unexpected, inappropriate, desperate – it has destroyed our individual and collective equilibrium.

What used to be considered important turned secondary and, truly, in many ways, that is what should have been a reality long before.

One thing we know with no margin for doubt: when this time ends, it will be after the loss of many lives – many, many lives that will have no more time for anything else.

The Covid cases and deaths must not make people forget about all the other “usual” health problems that have not been wiped from the face of the earth. We are still faced with respiratory, heart and cerebrovascular diseases, malignant tumors and the long list of already known infectious diseases. They are all still here; we must not forget this.

The title I would have liked to use in the first article of 2022 was “New Year, New Life”, but it is not yet a ‘new life’, it is an interval, a standby period, waiting for the future.

We, ordinary people, feel very upset that there is not much we can do. Some even think that the best is not to do anything, but this is a silly, irrational error.
I feel like saying: Yes, we can! We can go on living, in a careful, rational way.

Best healthy wishes,
Dra. Maria Alice Pestana Serrano e Silva
|| [email protected]

Dr Maria Alice is a consultant in General and Family Medicine. General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service. Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve/ Hospital S. Gonçalo de Lagos