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The most important lesson

Dec 27,2020 - Last updated at Dec 27,2020

Even though the COVID-19 epidemic is due to be under control soon, as a result of the new vaccines being on their way to those who need them, experts are warning that the epidemic is far from over, and that it will be with us for quite some time.

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to end the epidemic overnight, especially since the infections are still spreading and that new variants of the virus have started to appear as a result of mutation.

In addition, new viruses might also emerge in the days ahead, as some have emerged before.

One important lesson is that we should always be prepared, with or without vaccines.

What precisely should we do?

Several things at once.

One should always look for medications or vaccines, as they do contribute to bringing viruses under control.

Hats off to scientists who play a key role in making the protection of our health a priority and making our world better. It is they, in addition to doctors and health providers, who are currently the unknown heroes behind the scene, working round the clock to save lives.

Scientists have exerted tremendous efforts to produce, within a record time, a vaccine or medication that works.

Hats off also to the organisations that sponsor them and to the countries and cultures that privilege science and support scientists.

This is indeed another important lesson that we have learned: Many key solutions come from science.

But the more important lesson, especially as far as our society is concerned, is that the best way of fighting the virus and guarding against its pernicious, even tragic, effects has to do with good individual conduct and good habits.

When the nasty COVID-19 epidemic hit less than a year ago, experts kept emphasising three basic measures to fight the virus, while waiting for an effective medication or vaccine to materialise: physical distancing, washing hands with water and soap regularly and wearing the mask.

And these are simple, uncostly measures available to all; in addition to being smart and effective solutions.

The most important lesson that COVID-19 brought with it is that many of our daily customs and habits need to be reconsidered.

Unnecessary physical closeness and overcrowding in shops, public transport, the workplace, and occasions of all sorts are bad habits even in normal times.

The same applies to exaggerated handshakes, kiss greetings, and hugs. We tend to overdo it in all of these and thus expose ourselves to harmful close contact.

Hopefully, we have learned the lesson, for now and for the days to come, that fighting viruses is best done through simple, basic good conduct and good habits.

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