Africa-Press – Lesotho. If there is one constant that has plagued the Covid virus and the pandemic that it caused, it is uncertainties, and some controversies. The first uncertainty was about the origin of the virus – whether it came from a wet market in Wuhan or was a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – and it is still not resolved, despite several scientific studies, and investigations commissioned by WHO and the US government.
Then there were uncertainties about diagnosis, about treatment, about preventive measures, about vaccines, about the capacity of health systems to cope with the overwhelming load (even in developed countries), about the capacity to manufacture all the medical paraphernalia (equipment, etc) required in real time to deal with the disease, about access to all these by different countries especially the poorer ones, about the health sequelae in those who had suffered from it.
However, within months of its onset and spread across the world, it became clear that this was not a simple ‘influenza’ virus by the way it was affecting multiple organs instead of only the respiratory system but – like the influenza virus – it was likely to become endemic as has indeed happened, and that variants would continue to emerge at unpredictable intervals.
It is no surprise therefore that a new variant of the Omicron variant, XBB.1.16, has emerged in several countries and has also caused some deaths, although it is not as severe though more contagious.
To date locally there have been two deaths and a little over 100 cases, and people have been advised to take the precautionary measures such as masking up and frequent hand washing that are already well-known to everybody.
It goes without saying that because of another phenomenon that emerged – mask fatigue, lockdown fatigue – as soon as restrictions were lifted people in all countries started to discard masks and to start moving about more freely. However, here I have observed that quite a number of individuals still wear their masks in places like supermarkets.