Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

Absolutely yes, in Moscow. Not really, if you happen to live in Shanghai. 

Covid’s story was sealed for Moscow when Putin started the war in Ukraine. Just several days later, Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin suddenly announced that there was no more danger and everybody could take off face masks and relax. What a sudden victory!

Very funny. 

Other cities in Russia, like Petersburg or Kazan, still enjoy some minor restrictions. 

Covid in Russia

But in general, the Covid-19 story is done. It is now history, just like the Spanish flu. It is a difficult time we’re living in, now we have a global war after that global disease and God only knows which is worse. Ukraine will, thanks to God, rise, and Russia will fall to rot away inside its bear lair for the years to come. I just humbly hope for our own, Russian-made miracle to come…

On the other hand, this Shanghai affair, about two-month long by now, looks pretty weird. I suspect it is not purely Covid to deal with but some shadowy political crap connected with Chairman Xi. I’ve heard some rumors recently he’s having problems staying in power. 

I just don’t want to find myself in a situation a year from now to nostalgically recall those happy lockdown days in Moscow…

Is Covid done?

Roger Bara

Back at the beginning of the pandemic, the BBC’s flagship 6 o’clock evening news bulletin was practically all about the virus. For months, the headline top story was always Covid-related.

These days, Covid barely gets a mention in the U.K., outside of the ailing economy. Most, if not all of the draconian restrictions, have been lifted, and, on paper, it seems like normality has finally been resumed.

According to the latest weekly Office for National Statistics figures, the levels of current infections are continuing to fall. The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus in the past week was 5,072; that’s almost 1,000 fewer than the previous week. 

Covid UK

The number of people reported to have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test in the last seven days was 789, bringing the total so far to 177,890. In the meantime, it’s estimated that 1.5 million have the corona  virus infection, which is around 1 in 44 people in the U.K. But fewer people are being seriously ill this time round.

My country of birth, whilst very slow to enforce restrictions in the early days, has done pretty well with vaccinations. The UK’s Covid vaccine campaign has now shifted its focus to boosters – an attempt to reduce the impact of the Omicron variant.

Almost seven in 10 of those aged 12 or over in the UK have had a booster, while nine in 10 have had a single jab and more than eight in 10 have had a second dose. That’s not too shabby. There are plans for all “at-risk” groups to be given a booster this coming autumn.

In terms of public opinion, “Partygate”, those political shenanigans that broke Covid rules in Downing Street, continues to interest the public, and is most certainly not done anytime soon.

In one of pandemic’s more unusual side-effects, it’s been revealed that more people are enjoying a round of golf than before Covid. Something to do with being able to play safely outdoors during the restrictions.

Are we done? No, sadly. The U.K. government has now signed deals to buy 114 million more doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to use in 2022 and 2023. The pandemic is nowhere done, even if the easing of restrictions sugges otherwise. It’s just that having Covid around, and going nowhere, seems, well, pretty normal these days.

Is Covid done?

Photograph of Dean Lewis

I have never approved of the politicization of Covid and I still don’t. But it is. In the US over one-million people have died of Covid. To me this is a shocking number because the vast majority of these deaths should never have happened. 

Thankfully, nature has been kind to us with Covid. The new variants have all been less lethal than the prior versions and that, not the politicians, has saved tens of thousands of American lives. There is absolutely no reason to believe this trend will continue. The variant with a 40% death rate could happen any day; or not.

Covid is not done, it’s enduring. Like the Pyramids it will remain and future generations will stand around and wonder how it came to be.

Covid US

Maybe it will be mixed-in with the regular flu-shot cocktail in the future. Folks could just drop by the Pharmacy and get their vaccine in the fall and Covid would be a part of the mixture. If people have to go down three or four times a year for booster shots I don’t think many will. 

In the US, wearing a mask is no longer required in most settings. This is probably a good thing as many were in open rebellion anyway. 

It’s interesting to me that China is locking down millions, without success. What’s obvious is that even if they were magically able to get to zero cases they would still not beat Covid. Do they plan to allow anyone to enter or leave the country? Ever? And just how much damage to the economy is acceptable? The virus is endemic and at some point the leadership will be forced to admit this is the new normal. 

Covid will never be done.