July 19 = Freedom Day

A few days ago Boris Johnson announced that despite the spread of the 40% more-contagious Delta variant, he is lifting all legal restrictions, while recommending face-covering and other common-sense precautions to remain.

From what I understand, Johnson decided that with 2/3 of adults fully vaccinated, the UK is entering what he calls the Fourth Step on the road to recovery, now is the time, he said, before the winter cold sets in.

We must be cautious he reiterated, but this is what I heard: We can no longer wait for people to make up their minds whether they would take what he calls the crucial-vaccine, or not, and while the UK will continue to exercise a tough border policy, test, trace and isolate, it cannot go back to lockdowns, and citizens have to show personal responsibility in view of the reopening.

It is a risk, he admitted, but he is willing to take it considering the fact that only 1 death in 1,000 infections is reported, and while vaccinated people can also suffer from the Delta variant, they are not likely to die from it.

Thus Freedom Day is July 19, the UK is determined to get back to work.

That was very interesting. A full endorsement of the vaccine and a call for people to take advantage of it ASAP, because otherwise Delta is around the corner, more contagious than ever, ready to pounce.

And the swedes have announced the same thing.

At the onset of the Covid19 epidemic in China, I thought in January of last year, that it will never get here. But it did, and thus we called it pandemic, because it affected the entire universe. It seems that now while constantly evolving and changing, the virus is destined to become endemic, just one of the regular illnesses we deal with in our environment.

Aruba is on its way to lifting the last of the restrictions, though we still have some in place, but it seems that decision-makers are all saying, enough is enough, we have an effective method to reduce severe illness and death, help yourself, and if you don’t, the risk is on you.

One of my friends writes:

I learned that GOA started to accept vaccinated tourists without tests. After looking into the Common Pass app and Smart Health Card, I found that the trend of half measures that end up frustrating tourists without much benefit for the island, continues.

My guess is that a “smart” fellow sold GOA a stupid idea. The big decision GOA needs to take is whether allow fully vaccinated tourists to enter the island without recent Covid tests. It does have risks, especially now that there is accumulating evidence that vaccinated people can carry the Delta variant and infect others. Reasonable people can say that Aruba by now is in a position to accept that risk in light of the benefit of extra tourism and widespread vaccination on the island.

However, restricting this only to those with a Smart Health Card and digital vaccination certificate, at a time when a majority of fully vaccinated American tourists simply have a paper certificate obtained in the pharmacy, is a mistake. A simple arithmetic demonstrates that:


The great majority of tourists are honest and will not go to the trouble of obtaining a fake vaccination certificate to avoid a cheap test. Let’s assume 1 person among 100 tourists would land with a fake vaccination certificate. The great majority of American tourists travelling are fully vaccinated by now. Let’s assume 1 in 10 are not vaccinated. The chance that this 1 person among 1,000 tourists happens to be infected at entry is at least as low as 1 in 100. Finally, the chance that this person is going to infect locals while in Aruba — while most locals he/she will interact with are fully vaccinated — is at least as low as 1 in 10.

So requiring a Smart Health Card with a digital vaccination certificate will help Aruba avoid an infection risk of 1 in a million. Does this justify asking tourists to obtain that electronic card and digital certificate? Especially when the majority will find out that their state, insurance company, and pharmacy cannot provide it?

Frustrating tourists uselessly is a bad practice, GOA should avoid.


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July 16, 2021
Rona Coster