Overall, I find that public opinion, based mainly on the main news portals that turn out to be related to the two main political parties, is elevated by really relevant news in these times of trouble.
After some initial display of anti-vax protests, these portals fell silent. But protests continued, daily, in Rome, Milan, Paris and elsewhere. Even in these countries the official news portals remain silent. But alternative portals, including the Russian portal and some private ones, continue to show direct screening of the protests in real time.
In Malta, as we know, there was only one protest, led mostly by expatriates. So many may think the emergency is over.
But the number of infected people continues to rise. This is regardless of the fact that vaccinations have reached a record high at European levels.
When we look outside Malta we learn that the number of infected cases has increased. And with the airport still open, even though entrants are all vaccinated, it’s a safe option that infections here will increase.
The Maltese public looks around and wonders if the current state is determined, as they say, by the spread of Covid, or if other factors are interfering.
Like politics and the upcoming general election. Elections in Malta are traditionally occasions of large mass meetings with people ignoring the rules of distance. Other countries have reintroduced mass events such as football matches. However here other mass events like holidays are still banned.
Many concluded that there may be other factors involved. People are growing suspicious about what they are being told. Take vaccinations for example. It was first said that most of the new infections were in unvaccinated people. Then, as the numbers continued to rise, it was said that vaccinated people could still be infected, though not seriously.
But the pressure to be vaccinated is increasing worldwide. Here in Malta we had a half-hearted attempt to make restaurants choose to be exclusively for vaccinated people but they do not seem to have come out. Across Europe you have to show the Green Pass to get on a plane, a train. Elsewhere, like in Singapore, people without a vaccine have to pay for hospitalization.
In the absence of clear and certified news, people believe something. Hence the rumors about sudden deaths and other supposed consequences of the vaccine. Along with pre-existing conditions or not.
I find more people saying they have been vaccinated than those who really took the jab. As long as a Green Pass can be developed which can be shown on request, and until such time as the right infrastructure can be developed and established to allow only the access of vaccinated persons, there is still room for improvement. freedom. This is what the protesters are trying to preserve, but it is still going uphill and pressure is being put on to restrict it further.
There is more than a hint of paranoia in what the people are saying against Vax. The latest to join the voices was former Nuncio in Washington, Monsignor Vigano, already known as a public critic of Pope Francis, who this week said ‘they’ have been lying to people for two years, imposing the mask and social distance when nothing was really needed.
He was joined, as a feature showed on RAI, by traditional Catholics who claimed that some vaccines against Covid came from abortion by-products.
The ‘freedom marches’, as they are called, are becoming quite violent, so much so that Interior Minister Lamorgese has decreed that they should not be left in the city center. There have also been cases where journalists covering the protest have been beaten with shouts of a “terrorist journalist”.
Now on the surface, these thoughts and concerns may seem to be completely absent from the Maltese scene. But people are not silly. They know what’s going on a lot more than one thinks. Through personal contacts they know that this free and easy environment will only last until the day after the election. They know that the ring will be tightened or else the infections will increase. And they are worried that freedom is about to be curtailed.
Others are not so afraid and point out that other vaccination programs had to be enforced and as a result this world was better. Although there does not currently appear to be any area of compromise between the two sides, the development of a new and better pill or medication will hopefully put this divide in the past.