10 drops

When does a war end? Is it when victory is declared? Is it when the last innocent dies? When the last shot is fired?

When is a disaster over? When the earth stops shaking or when the stormwinds fall quiet?

Is it when the last tear is shed? Is it even then, or is it when the edge of memory is dulled enough to lose its edge? Does it end at different times for each, relative like everything else?

I like to think it is when you rediscover hope. It can be fragile and easily broken, but it still rises through the mud and blooms, welcoming a new day, doomed though it might be.

Today, I got a 0.5 ml shot in my arm and watched my spouse get it, a small amount of liquid signifying a large amount of hope, fragile as it might be.

I was already one of the privileged, able to stay locked at home and safe with everyone I love. But fear is the same everywhere if you have something to lose, although we, the privileged might deserve a weaker claim to it.

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Fake news, faith, passive and tail risks

The world was hit by a once in a century pandemic, a virus that was deadly enough to kill millions but innocuous enough to spread easily and widely. We battled to scale up intensive care beds, ventilators, testing facilities. Healthcare workers battled exhaustion and heat stroke in PPE kits. We pooled all our resources in a global effort to develop vaccines. What do you think was the biggest challenge of them all?

Not the challenge of developing a vaccine faster than ever done before, not keeping economies afloat while lockdowns and shut downs ran businesses into the ground. No, the most insurmountable challenge of them all is battling the misinformation sent on WhatsApp by your friendly neighbourhood fake news uncle. The one that sends you good morning GIFs followed by critical pieces of information about the pH level of the virus and how to counter it with warm water and juice that was stirred clockwise three times at noon.

A first of its kind mRNA vaccine was developed in 2 days after getting the genetic code of the virus and deployed in a year after testing, but no one can stop WhatsApp uncle and his fake news. Not all the governments or scientists in the world. No mask can filter it, no air purifier can stop it.

What are the implications? We will probably never reach herd immunity and end this pandemic. Governments are trying to speed up vaccinations but sooner or later, they are going to hit a wall and not have any more people willing to get vaccinated. The fake news virus got to them first and immunised them against the vaccine. Why risk living a long life when you can die early from a preventable disease?

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