We’ve not had a second wave

I think employers and workers have a right to know what the government’s position is going to be in such a scenario, since these decisions will have a big impact on all of us


By Kevin-James Fenech

Kevin is the founder and owner of JOB Search - jobsearch.mt and FENCI Consulting fenci.eu.

The economic, financial and social cost of COVID19 already is enormous and we are only six months into this much-hyped pandemic.

The UK hit the £2 trillion debt mark this month whilst Malta surpassed the €1b debt mark.

All the main sectors of the Maltese economy have experienced significant contractions this year and our GDP has shrunken by circa 7%.

The Central Bank of Malta also warned that local banks are going to be put under pressure as a result of COVID.

I predict that it will take us three years to get back to 2019 levels of prosperity and growth, meaning we would have ‘lost’ 3+ years because of COVID19 and the amount of taxes we are all going to have to pay to get our debt back down to manageable levels is still unknown but in the UK the Chancellor is already talking of hiking up taxes in his November budget to the tune of £30b.

Furthermore, recession in Malta is increasingly looking likely and this despite the government’s massive injection into the economy amounting to 3% of GDP thus far.

So please before screaming ‘Second Wave’ in the middle of summer, ask yourself does it feel like a second wave hit Malta and overwhelmed our health system?

The facts are that despite the spike in infections (a spike is not a wave), the symptoms of summer COVID19 have been extremely mild or non-existent for the majority of people (82%). More importantly, we have not had a second wave this August, since by definition a second wave is when a country experiences high death tolls and the national health system is overwhelmed. We have had nothing of the sort this summer and even if the number of infections continued to spike because no restrictions were introduced, the virus was weak. So I fail to understand why Dr. Fear continues to insist on more restrictions.

I therefore appeal to Dr. Fear, to respectfully stop spreading fear by claiming we have been hit by a Second Wave, since this destroys business confidence and fuels uncertainty and the ultimate loser will be the worker! Jobs are created or sustained when there is stability and certainty not when fear grips a nation.

We are now at an important juncture and the decisions we take as a country will have a big impact on our medium-term:

Do we reopen schools in September; do we send our children to school? Should workers work from home this winter? Should the face mask become the Maltese Burqa? Should doctors be allowed to go on strike again if they don’t get their way again? Do we close our ports again and turn Malta into a fortress island this winter? Should we fine people or even jail them, if they display flu-like symptoms which later prove to be COVID19? Should this country impose a lockdown for the whole of winter when there will be an overload of cold & flu plus COVID19?

What determines how we respond to these important questions, is the country’s appetite for risk, the public mood and the COVID19 fear factor. We get these decisions wrong as a country and a whole generation will sadly pay a painful price.

So again, I respectfully point out that we have not had a Second Wave this summer and that the public health restrictions imposed were based on perceived fear rather than actual threat to our health system. This is relevant because come autumn when children (hopefully) are at school, workers busily working to keep their job and the common cold or flu starts to surge or spike (just like it does every autumn/winter), I know Dr. Fear will prey on the public and more restrictions will be advocated.

My concern, therefore, is that we’ve not had a second wave this summer yet still Dr. Fear managed to bully the government into imposing draconian public health restrictions (like wearing a face mask in your car or when standing up in a restaurant), applying a ‘one size fits all’ approach and barely anyone spoke out.

Naturally, the obvious question now is, what will happen in autumn/winter when the perceived threat will skyrocket and Dr. Fear’s ‘Control of Minds’ will be greater?

I think employers and workers have a right to know what the government’s position is going to be in such a scenario, since these decisions will have a big impact on all of us.

I repeat, we’ve not had a second wave this summer; yet draconian public health restrictions have been imposed on us! This when 82% of persons experience mild or no symptoms; when our 100+ intensive care beds remain in their majority empty; and the public health system has in no way been stretched.

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