Seeing people crowding in streets and public squares, and hearing about people gathering at homes in defiance of coronavirus restrictions, you cannot help but ask how stupid can some people be?
Even if you try to understand the people who have doubts about the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine or are afraid of the possible side-effects (their concerns are respected but we ought to follow the instructions of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom underscore the exigency of safety measures and mass immunization) there should be absolutely no understanding or tolerance for the irresponsible behavior of Covid deniers. They are unjustified, foolish and dangerous, not just to themselves but, more importantly, to other people who take safety measures, wear masks and choose to stay at home.
At the end of the day, it’s not too much to ask people to stay in. Imagine that we had to take refuge inside a shelter because the outside air was contaminated. This is what our response should be to this unprecedented situation. It’s a war. Scientists’ warnings are the sirens, and our homes are the bunkers.
So it’s a war of sorts, and we do what is necessary to save ourselves and protect lives. Only in this case, our life depends not only on our own behavior, but also on that of others. And irresponsible behavior can be criminal. To paraphrase a famous slogan of the Clinton campaign: “It’s my life too, stupid.”
This phenomenon is not exclusive to Greece, of course, and to be fair, the Greeks have shown a greater level of maturity than many other people on the issue.
Only 40 percent of the French population want to have the coronavirus vaccine, according to a recent poll carried out by Ipsos Global Advisor in partnership with the World Economic Forum. This puts France behind other laggards such as Russia (43%) and South Africa (53%). The most willing to be vaccinated, the poll found, were the Chinese (80%), the Brazilians (78%), the British (77%) and the Americans (70%).
On a more positive note about the outgoing year, we ought to welcome the responsible and mature attitude of Greek political leaders in the management of the pandemic, as demonstrated by their consensus on the issue of inoculation.
We should keep in mind that such a serious and responsible attitude to the pandemic and its management has been sadly missing from many governments and party leaders in other countries, including the world’s superpower.