Kathriona Devereux: If Cork keeps up virus defiance, maybe I can see a beach soon

Cork's infection-suppressing performance has been great... but let's not let our guard down in the coming weeks, says Kathriona Devereux
Kathriona Devereux: If Cork keeps up virus defiance, maybe I can see a beach soon

HAVEN: Kathriona Devereux is looking forward to visiting places like Redbarn beach in Youghal, when Covid restrictions ease.

HAVE you ever been so happy to see Cork at the bottom of the table for anything?

At the time of writing, Cork has the lowest incidence of Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people in the country: 60.6 people compared to the national average of 190.2.

Cork’s rate is slightly lower than Kerry’s at 60.9 and I wonder have Cork people been strictly adhering to public health guidelines purely to be able to beat Kerry at something other than football!

Cork’s infection-suppressing performance elicits a pride of the parish, jersey-kissing moment of satisfaction. Up Cork!

Except I am very aware how easily that good performance can unravel with a few poor decisions by a handful of people. I don’t want those numbers going up. Ever again!

St Patrick’s Day and Easter are looming holidays on the calendar when people understandably want to spend time with friends and family, but I really hope people will forgo the traditional gatherings for one more year to keep Covid numbers down.

Anti-lockdown protests and other breaches of public health rules are a slap in the face to all the sacrifices made by healthcare workers, some of whom are yet to return to work due to the longer term effects of contracting Covid-19.

A very delicate balance needs to be struck in the coming weeks to maintain our covetable status. 

The return of more and more pupils to schools brings greater circulation of people, but the wider roll-out of vaccinations brings greater protection to the vulnerable.

To keep Cork’s population focused on maintaining our stellar suppressing performance throughout March and April, perhaps the next level of government restrictions could include escaping the shackles of the 5km limit and the ‘prize’ of intercounty travel.

Fish and chips in Allihies, long yards of beach walks in Youghal, galloping around Gougane Barra... these are things I dream about on my fifth circumambulation of The Lough!

No-one is safe until everyone is safe.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the stern warning to rich countries from the World Health Organisation’s Dr Mike Ryan about proceeding with vaccinating young and healthy people before healthcare workers and vulnerable people in low income countries are vaccinated.

Last week saw good news on that front, with Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire becoming the first countries to receive Covid-19 vaccines through Covax, an alliance of global health organisations tasked with manufacturing and distributing Covid-19 vaccinations to developing countries for free.

Some 600,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, shipped from India to Ghana, with 504,000 doses arriving in Cote D’Ivoire, destined for healthcare and frontline workers.

I also wrote about the 109 million people of the Philippines awaiting the arrival of vaccines, and last week an initial 487,200 doses arrived in Manila courtesy of Covax: the Filipino vaccination roll-out is underway.

Covax hope to deliver 2.3 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021. Fairer access and proper global vaccination deployment means a quicker recovery and return to the ‘new normal’.

Unfortunately, vaccine hesitancy is a problem that could cost lives. 

About 20% of U.S adults don’t intend to get the jab, and a survey of people in Ireland found 35% of respondents hesitant or reluctant.

In contrast to pictures of the U.S President Joe Biden rolling up his sleeve for his shot, there are other global leaders spreading doubt. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been publicly critical of Covid-19 vaccines and Tanzanian President John Magufuli has denied the seriousness of Covid-19 and falsely described vaccines as dangerous.

Sowing doubt about the seriousness of the threat and spreading concern about the safety of the vaccines are predictable tactics used by anti-vaxxers. Stressing the untrustworthiness of experts is another standard method. Existing distrust in authority or the State makes people vulnerable to anti-vaccine messaging.

Inoculating ourselves from ‘fake news’ about vaccines is important. 

Checking the source of information and double checking it against communications and information from reliable sources such as the World Health Organisation is vital. As is stopping the spread. Don’t forward or share articles that are not based on facts from reliable sources. If someone says something to you that is untrue, gently challenge them to check their facts with other sources.

Of course, if someone has fallen into the rabbit hole of worldwide conspiracy theories, it is hard to retrieve them because they have lost all faith in ‘trusted’ sources. 

We must work as hard to protect ourselves from misinformation as well as Covid-19.

TIME TO GIY

The windowsills in our house are crammed with toilet paper cardboard tubes filled with hope and promise. More specifically with sprouting tomato, cucumber and courgette seedlings.

Without veering into Mary Fitzgerald crafting territory, you simply snip the bottom of a cardboard toilet paper tube in four places, fold the flaps in on themselves to make a little pot, fill it with compost, poke in a seed (seems like all shops are selling grow-it-yourself seeds this year), water, and then leave it on the windowsill for a week until the wonder of life and nature presents itself.

Every morning, I get a little kick seeing the new growth and green shoots unfurl their leaves.

Even though I’ve grown two kids inside my own body and am a full witness to the ‘miracle of life’, I still find it really amazing that a teeny tomato seed can transform into a plant that produces a crop of delicious tomatoes.

This grow-it-yourself lark, even on small windowsill scale, is very uplifting. Give it a go.

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