Mar 15, 2021 Sports
By Colin E. H. Croft
Kaieteur News – 2021 is easily the most massively hopeful year most people now alive anywhere probably would have had, after the seriously desperate and dangerous 2020, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Already, nearly 120 million people have been infected by Covid-19 worldwide, with approximately 3 million reported deaths.
1946 must have been the last such hopeful year, after World War II had ended, a war that accounted for more than 75 million deaths. Most of us were not alive in 1946, so this Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 and 2021 is the most horrific event most people now alive would have experienced.
In the United States of America alone, nearly 30 million cases of Covid-19 exist, with nearly 550,000 people dead because Covid-19. The State of Florida, where I live, has already had nearly 33,000 deaths.
The Caribbean has been extremely lucky, and determined, in some cases, not to be as badly afflicted by Covid-19 as other parts of the world. Some Leaders, like Barbados’ Ms. Mia Mottley and Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad & Tobago, have done excellent jobs of trying hard to lock down their countries. With the very porous borders that Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago have, and with Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname a short walk or boat ride away, only luck and God’s blessing have saved our Caribbean from more Covid-19 peril.
My questions must be directed at CARICICOM. How come it is that countries like Barbados, Guyana and St. Kitts, could endeavor, individually, to get the much-needed vaccines for their inhabitants, and CARICOM had not done this? Why did CARICOM not go begging to some authority or government, including the very benevolent Indian Government, to simply ask for 15 million vaccines, to cover the 7 million Caribbean people; twice? Can someone please explain what exactly the purpose of CARICOM is?
2021 is a good year for me too. It commemorates my 50th year of professional employment, a journey that began in June 1971, thanks to Rudy Luck, then Principal of Central High School, and Basil McGowan, then Head-Master of Commenius Moravian School, in Anira Street, Queenstown, Georgetown, where I started as an inexperienced but eager 18 years young Mathematics Teacher. I spent two very exciting years there.
This began my professional journey; as a Teacher, Air Traffic Controller, Professional International Cricketer, Commercial Pilot, Engineer, Aviation Manager and Sports Journalist, among so many other opportunities. Very fortunately for me, I have never been unemployed in my life these last 50 years.
2021 also is the 50thanniversary of my first ever airplane flight, in August 1971, on a cricketing journey, to Jamaica, to play in the West Indies Under19 Youth Cricket competition, representing Guyana. Having already represented Guyana in 1970, I was one of the more senior and experienced players in 1971.
My first flight was on a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC – now British Airways) Vickers VC-10, an absolutely beautiful airplane, which once held speed records for Atlantic crossings for subsonic jet travel; 5 hours and 01 minute; only to be broken by the majestic Boeing B-747 Jumbo, 41 years later, clocking that journey at about 4 hours and 56 minutes, but with a tailwind that was a storm!
My maiden airplane voyage also seriously whetted my appetite for aviation and international travel. Apart from actually piloting airplanes in many countries, I have been extremely fortunate to have, so far, travelled to nearly 75 countries world-wide. Russia, Japan, both Koreas and China are still waiting.
2021 offers so much hope to recover from this mighty scourge- Covid-19. Already there are three vaccines in use in the USA, and a few more around the world, miraculously available after only a year of development, given that most vaccines take ages to be developed, tested, then propagated.
The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, with two doses, with 95% efficacy; the Moderna NIAID vaccine, also with two doses, also with 95% efficacy; and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with only one dose, and with 75% efficacy; are all now available here in the USA.
If President Joseph Biden gets his way, everyone of the nearly 330 million legal people in the USA could be fully vaccinated, if they want to be, by May or June 2021. That is a big “ask”, but certainly things are moving on upwardly, with great hope. Life as we know it will continue, but with vaccines!
My personal experiences with Covid-19 lasted for 48 of the most distressing, unexpected and scary hours I have ever spent in my now 68 years. On the weekend before my 67th birthday; Sunday, 15 March 2020; I could not come out of bed. For some reason, both of my legs simply could not move. I also had a fever and headaches. Being scared was putting it very lightly. I knew immediately that I had become infected by Covid-19. Fortunately for me, those symptoms lasted only about two days. No-one deserves such fear!!
It turned out that one of my associates, at my employer at Orlando International Airport, is married to a national of Wuhan, in China’s Hubei Province, where the Covid-19 supposedly started. Apparently, he had visited her ancestral home in very early 2020, and had, inadvertently, brought back that deadly virus, to infect many of us, since my seeming inability to be properly mobile for a weekend, was one of the milder afflictions. I can truly suggest that I have never been so scared in my life. I, for one, welcome the vaccines.
On 08 February and 01 March 2021, I had my two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, courtesy of the magnificently organized Seminole County and State of Florida Health Departments. When Nurse Jackson put that 2nd needle into my left arm, my heart exalted, even though I still always use masks and everything else too. To date, there has been absolutely no reactions from those vaccines. But vaccines are not new to me anyhow.
From 1958, as a 5-years old, to the month of my 68thbirthday in 2021, I have taken every single vaccine that has been either proliferated or suggested. I am still very much alive and very well indeed. Everything, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, seem to be working wonderfully well so far. I have never even had any need for such things as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. I still walk or run about two hours three times a week, and cycle for about 60 kilometers twice per week. Is not life grand? Take the vaccine!
You name it, I have had the vaccine: Yellow Fever, Cholera, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Smallpox, Chicken Pox, Dipteria, Tetanus, Typhoid, Polio, Influenza (Annual), Cortizone for muscle repair, dental shots of both Cocaine (yes, Dentists used that in the 1960s and 1970s), and Novocaine. I have now topped them all off by having the two-dose Pfizer vaccines. I am still very much here, alive and quite well at age 68!
Our parents, especially parents of African descent, tried to kill their offspring with love, as we all know that food and love go together. They simply gave us too much salt. They added salt to everything. Globally, heart attacks are the leading cause of death of men of African descent. Too much salt and fat foods!
I remember, while playing cricket for Guyana and West Indies, at the very height of my athletic prowess, that Old Sylvia would often suggest: “Kalin meh bhoy, yuh lookin’ so thin and maggah. Yuh need some billin’ up wid some good dumplin’, and cow-heel soup, some foo-foo and some mettagee; to fatten yuh up. Yuh too thin bhoy!” What she did not include was that all of our lovely foods were filled with added salt!
Now, my only two inclusions, in my daily diet, are aspirin and a prescription cholesterol related drug, for blood thinning. I eat anything green or yellow, roots, fruits, and, ironically, “good” spices like curry, cumin and turmeric, with much water and tea, for irrigation, cooling, and for flushing the life-long toxins, with only poultry and marine species providing protein. No alcohol needed, as I am already drunk on life!
For 2021, a Medical Travel Passport will return, though for us travelers older than 50, this is not a new concept. Some might remember that in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, one needed some vaccines I have already noted, if one was planning to travel internationally. My bright yellow United Nations/World Health Organization Vaccine Book still exists, but I do wonder as to how many vaccinations I have had. Wow!
By 2021 end, most countries will require that anyone entering their domain, will need at least one of the authorized vaccines. I think that one would need one full, activeset of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, then we will use one of the (perhaps) Johnson & Johnson vaccines as an annual booster, as is done with the present influenza vaccine. 2021 is a great year of hope. Get that vaccine. You are needed right here!
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