This virus is playing games with us.
Just when things start to look promising, there’s a new aspect of the Coronavirus to worry about.
The latest is that it is mutating and that these new strains may be even more infectious than before.
Scientists in England and in Spain have identified the new variants in areas where there have been more infections.
Alongside Italy, England is one of the European countries that is going to celebrate Christmas under greater restrictions than the rest of the world.
If you are feeling down because your holiday plans are ruined by this pandemic, then spare a thought for some Brits, who are in lockdown until next week Thursday.
In parts of Italy, people are only allowed to leave their homes once a day, and only if it’s essential.
Most bars, shops and restaurants are also closed until 6 January, so even their New Year celebrations will have to be in isolation.
The problem is that many parts of Europe are once again seeing rising cases, and officials fear an explosion in infections after the Christmas holidays as families gather.
And this new strain of the virus is only adding to the anxiety that people must be feeling, despite a vaccine being rolled out.
Nobody knows yet if the new strain will make the vaccine less effective or not.
The same goes for us, where a different new strain has been detected in the Eastern Cape, but is now showing up in tests around the country.
It is called 501.V2 and it reportedly targets young people who previously didn’t have to worry so much.
In other words, previously healthy young people, with no comorbidities are getting sick and are having to be hospitalised.
Our health minister has made it clear that the risk of them dying from Covid-19 is now very real.
And of course the chance of spreading it to relatives in the house still remains a very real possibility.
I can’t think of anything worse than having to bury a loved one during the Christmas holidays, which are already so strained.
On the other side of the world, New Zealand seems to be the developed nation that has dealt with this pandemic the best so far.
While the country’s borders remain closed, community transmissions are now non-existent; which means for all intents and purposes, they have defeated the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
And it’s largely thanks to a massive sacrifice they made early on – a hard and very restrictive, 51-day lockdown.
It’s yet another reason to admire the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose handling of the pandemic assured her a landslide re-election in October.
In turns out that some voters love intelligent leaders and will show their appreciation at the polls. Yes, I’m talking to you, Donald Trump!
With New Zealand reaping the rewards from an economy that’s now busy bouncing back, there are great lessons to be learned from decisive leaders with integrity and a disciplined and trusting citizenry.
But you do need both values on both sides for it to succeed.
Meanwhile, we are spending our energy on trying to understand why some of our youth are playing kissing games at crowded parties, in the middle of a pandemic; or how some venues can continue to organise get-togethers, while fully understanding the risks they are exposing all of us to.
It’s worth noting that New Zealand’s two most powerful politicians are women. I’m just saying!