Dear scientists, thanks for soldiering on in the face of modern ...

Ideas

Dear scientists, thanks for soldiering on in the face of modern medievals

After a year of wilful ignorance, let’s hear it for the health workers and ‘witches’ who will save us

Columnist

Almost exactly a year ago, SA identified its first case of Covid-19. Three weeks later a 21-day hard lockdown began, and the rest is contested history featuring hot chickens, cold politicians, vast looting, extraordinary courage and skill from medical professionals, and, for far too many families, the grief and anger of losing someone to a virus their neighbours say is a media hoax.

This week I’ve seen a number of people marking the anniversary of Covid-19 in this country, and I can see why. There’s something about two dates separated by a dash that act as a type of reassuring historical bookend. A pandemic that began in 2020 is a pandemic that is still rolling relentlessly on. But the 2020–2021 pandemic, well, that’s a pandemic that might, with any luck, be nearing the beginning of its end.

Admittedly, people have been calling an end to this one since its start. On March 19 last year, with fewer than 14,000 cases identified in the US, Elon Musk famously declared there would probably be “close to zero new cases” in that country by the end of April. By the end of that month there were more than a million. Today, at least 29 million Americans have had Covid-19. This isn’t over by a long way...

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