The War With Ukraine is Ongoing, but the War Against Covid is Over!

“There are more mysteries between Heaven and earth than our vain philosophy can suppose.”  (Sir William Shakespeare)

Newsroom (07/03/2022 09:00, Gaudium Press) For two years we have followed the news and the statistics of the increase in the number of cases of covid-19, crowded hospitals, people intubated, lack of ICU beds, high rates of contamination, mutations of the virus, deaths, mass burials, reflections on the economy, long lineups to receive aid, hunger, humanitarian assistance, policies of confrontation, and the fall of leaders.

For two years we were confined, we wore masks, we isolated ourselves, we did not work, many lost their jobs and their purchasing power, we were forbidden to gather with each other, to go to many places, to pray together, to go to school. And we have even worn out our hands from washing them so much or sanitizing them with alcohol gel.

We witnessed obedience and disobedience; successes and failures; Herculean efforts by doctors, nurses and other health workers, and the misappropriation of funds and hospital equipment; solidarity and financial scams. We saw good people getting poorer and opportunists getting richer.

We were caught in the crossfire of vaccines: between take it/not take it; have side effects/not have side effects; they are effective in such and such a percentage/after not so effective and, finally, we learned that one dose was not enough, that you needed to take the booster and then the booster of the booster, and so on. We followed the mutations of the virus and saw that it continued to attack, even tri-vaccinated people.

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Even without knowing the effects of the Omicron variant, we learned that it had a very high transmission power and that it was not intimidated by the vaccine barrier. Thus, many who had already received two or three doses of the vaccine ended up becoming infected. And then, even the symptoms changed.

The vaccination passport was created, without which one could not access certain places, especially in large capitals. Sanctions were imposed in relation to international travel, with people prevented from entering and leaving some countries if, along with their passport, they did not also present proof of vaccination.

And of course, as we have seen in Brazil, in some cities a scheme was uncovered that sold false vaccination certificates, so that unvaccinated people had free access to places that required proof.

I am not going to defend the conspiracy theories that claim that the disease was artificially created. What I do know is this – broadly speaking, in some countries more, in others less – this disease has stopped the world.

Russia invades Ukraine

There is no doubt that all these things have shaken us. However, suddenly, something unexpected happened: on 24 February, Russia invaded Ukraine, in a war that, as I write this article, is entering its tenth day. And does it not seem that the war managed to stop the pandemic?

Before, all it required were three or four people getting together for there to be contamination. Now, from one moment to the next, thousands of people are crowded together in tiny spaces, like underground shelters and underground stations, with very little ventilation and precarious hygiene conditions…

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More than a million people have already left Ukraine, huddling on the borders with Poland and other neighbouring countries, even gathering in makeshift tents, travelling in overcrowded buses or trains, and yet Covid is not mentioned.

Just when you think you have seen everything in life, along comes a surprise like this! Neither insulation, nor alcohol gel, nor washing all the groceries from the supermarket and removing clothing and shoes before entering the house, nor the continuous use of masks or the triple dose of vaccine could do what the Russian and Ukrainian tanks, machine guns, bombs, and missiles managed to do in a few days.

And just as the noxious effects of war are already hitting the global economy, its salutary effects – on pandemic disease – have spread around the world with such great speed that in most countries, including Brazil, governments are announcing the withdrawal of masks in the coming days.

It is clear that any war is a terrible thing and very regrettable, but since it seems that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia was already planned a long time ago, it is regrettable that Putin was not more of a “visionary” and put his plans into practice earlier… Since the virus has shown itself to be so susceptible to cannon fire and threats of a nuclear attack, had this unfortunate conflict started earlier, perhaps the nefarious virus would not have even left Wuhan.

It seems that, however wise and well-informed we think we are, we are forced to agree with Sir William Shakespeare when he says that “there are more mysteries between heaven and earth than our vain philosophy can conceive”. In fact, there is a height that our intelligence is not capable of reaching, when only God Himself is capable of understanding and of helping us to accept it…

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Afonso Pessoa

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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