We might still be unsure of how the novel coronavirus was born nor when it will cease to plague us, but we do know that its power lies in how it exploits human nature and human weakness to spread, to mutate, to develop. It is as if it understood that people’s need to assemble, to embrace loved ones, would be its royal road to world domination. That is why it is contagious before we display symptoms, exploiting our lack of awareness that we are its hosts, and our need for contact with others. Instead of killing its victims before they get a chance to infect others (as Ebola does), SARS-CoV-2 is slow to show itself; it hides behind smiles, in the breath of the person next to us, in familiar places. And so it took root in our lives.
Now, we know all this. We know how the virus acts, we have good vaccines. And yet, its spread and survival still depend on our weaknesses: We underestimate the danger (“These things only happen to others”), we are impatient to get back to normality, we allow fatigue to dictate policy against the pandemic, we believe that the beginning of vaccinations means the war is over, we are influenced by a growing number of people who disregard the protective measures.
This ground is fertile for political exploitation: On the one hand, governments are taking unprecedented measures (economic and others); on the other, opposition parties can question every decision and invest in the people’s insecurity and fatigue. This causes greater confusion as to whether their sacrifices are justified, whether government decisions are correct, whether the vaccines are safe. This, too, is human weakness.
Today, with the number of daily cases very high, the government is daring to take tentative steps toward normality. It is worth noting that with 5.66 percent of the population fully inoculated (with two doses), the number of new cases on Wednesday was 3,491. In Israel, when the percentage of vaccinations was similar (on January 18), 6,560 cases were recorded, whereas by Wednesday, with 55.29% of the population fully vaccinated, they were down to 489, and some of the country’s Covid-19 clinics had begun to shut down.
The end of our struggle is in sight. As long as the coronavirus does not prove cleverer than us.