As South Africa ends the last of its Covid restrictions, including the mask mandate (which most people have been ignoring anyway) and without any visible safety net in place, it’s well worth remembering that a simple government decree does not end an pandemic.
And I have to say that those anti-maskers claiming “victory” with lines like:
“After our two years of tireless campaigning…”
…do look very much like someone asserting that “Christmas came around in December again this year, thanks to our almost 12 month struggle with the authorities”. You can’t claim that you won if the thing you wanted to happen was going to happen anyway. What next? Taking credit for tomorrow’s sunrise?
And of course this was always going to happen. As I described in the link above, this is a natural (if premature) progression back to “normal life”. And whether or not you agree with the mask mandates, there’s plenty of evidence that they saved many thousands of lives. It’s also probably worth noting that you’ll likely be able to identify the epidemiologists and the microbiologists in your local supermarket or other crowded indoor space, because they’ll be the ones still choosing to wear a mask.
I’m not saying that there will be any sudden huge rise in case numbers. We’re sitting nicely in the trough at the end of the fifth wave. What I am saying is that because of the lack of rules on masking now, when the time comes again that there is Covid around in the community, it will spread much more quickly and easily. And that won’t be a good thing.
So why now? What suddenly changed?
Surely only a cynic would suggest that they might have rushed the big news of the scrapping of the regulations to coincide with the release of the final part of the State Capture report which was hugely critical of the ANC government, including the role of the current president.
Not that I’m that distrustful*.
* I absolutely am.