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The all-important letter V: Virus, Vaccine, Vacation

Here we go again, we are gearing up for vacation, the second during this pandemic. A year ago, after a frightful five months of draconic quarantine, we decided that the economy was in a dire need of restarting.
Oddly enough, yet most conveniently, the moment coincided with the time of the year when every working soul was gearing up for vacation and therefore, the politicians pompously decreed that “we need to restart the economy.” At least now, one year later, we are no longer hypocritically pretending that, we simply acknowledge that we had enough of this pandemic and the time has come for “relaxation”.

This is what I wrote in the first month of the summer of 2020: “We have widely reopened the gates for the Covid-19 pandemic," hypocritically pretending that "we are restarting the economy." No, sir, we are not restarting the economy, we are starting the vacation! We had no problem working from home for almost four months, but vacationing at home is nonsense, isn't it? We had no problem dressing up for an online meeting (while still wearing the pajama bottoms under the table), but who would put on the swimming suit, lay down the bathing towel in the living room, light up the atmosphere with a colored bulb and jump into the bathroom tub pretending to be on a beach in sunny Greece? You ought to be there, no matter the consequences!
It was just natural that the virus couldn’t care less about what the politicians emphatically declared/decided/decreed, it just said ”thank you” for the opportunity, and the tiny THING did what it normally and naturally does when allowed: it went on a rampage, not only once but twice. Come the end of the 2020 summer vacation, the world was hit with a deadlier second and subsequent third pandemic wave. As a consequence, the current Covind-19 pandemic has risen to no. 9 in the charts of the deadliest pandemics in history, but way short of No.1 – the Bubonic plague of 1346–1353 that all but halved the population of Europe, or No.2 – the 1918-1920 Spanish flu that killed almost 200 million people worldwide. Thank you, microbiology and medical science for that, thank you each and every doctor and nurse in the world, we all owe you big time!

As for the economy, it did what usually economies do during challenging times: it adapted, reinvented itself and survived. It is true that the industry for fun/clubbing/entertainment/tourism and hospitality-related transportation were affected, but all in all it could have been way much worse. Way much worse. Please read the history books.

Coming back to the present day, there is, however, a major difference between that moment, a year ago, and now:  it is called the vaccine. Six months after the global drive for vaccination began, it is clear that there is no vacation without vaccination. Look at your beloved vacation destination called Italy, where the number of daily cases dwindled by 80% since the vaccination began. Look at Israel, another prime destination for believers and faithful of all kind, where the number of new cases decreased from 12,000 per day in January to 35, on 15th of May 2021. Look at Portugal, look at the UK. I am not going to dwell on the pro and against arguments for an “European green certificate” but, mind you, there is no “universal human right for vacation” either.
As for the vaccination campaign itself, it was so Romanian: it started with a system that was good in theory but it stalled in practice; then it generated a queue and the people who jumped the queue; then a nationwide rush for the holly dose, when Romanians discovered that alongside Sinaia, Predeal, Mamaia or Vama Veche there are also places worth visiting: Suria, Botoroaga, Pipirig, Radauti, Babeni; then we had the contesters and the anti-vaxxers; then we had the vaxathlons organized by various local authorities; we even had the a wee pro-vaccine whisper from the Romanian Orthodox Church. In brief: vaccination with “de toate”.

So, what’s next? Well, the holly vaca­tion is just about to begin. And, if nothing convinced you to get the jab so far, then vacation is a perfectly reasonable reason to have it done now.

This is also available in our print edition of Business Arena.

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