OPINION

In the cage with the beast

in-the-cage-with-the-beast

The greatest part of the world’s population is exposed to the most contagious and perhaps most dangerous variant of the coronavirus. The Delta variant is 60 percent more contagious than the Alpha strain, which itself was 60 percent more contagious than the initial virus which has swept over the globe.

The good news is that the vaccines we have provide a high level of protection against this variant, too. However, all those who remain unvaccinated are extremely vulnerable. In Britain, which has a high level of vaccination (with 64 percent of the population having received at least one dose), the Delta variant is responsible for 90 percent of the precipitous climb of confirmed cases of Covid-19, from 24.8 cases per million inhabitants on May 23 to 164.5 per million on June 23.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates the variant will be responsible for 90 percent of cases in the European Union by August. Initial figures from Britain suggest that this variant is “associated with a 2.61-times higher risk of hospitalization within 14 days of specimen date than the Alpha variant,” the Guardian reported.

If we consider that more than 75 percent of all vaccines have been provided to just 10 countries, and that the 72 million doses supplied to the 125 poorer ones cover less than 1 percent of their population, we get an idea of the magnitude of the problem. As the coronavirus has taught us, a problem that plagues all humanity affects every one of us. The economic and human cost of the pandemic, along with the virus’s changes, is everyone’s business.

“This virus is changing constantly. Future changes could render our tools ineffective and drag us back to square one,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday.

“The pandemic is not over, and it will not be over until and unless transmission is controlled in every last country.”

In three weeks, the number of deaths caused by Covid this year will pass those of the whole of 2020, he told the WHO General Assembly.

By Thursday, 29 cases of the Delta variant had been confirmed in Greece. As most protective measures are being lifted, we are all inside the cage with the beast. Some with the armor of their vaccines, others unwillingly defenseless, others bristling with opinions.