The first time I saw it, I thought, this is a joke.
But now, it is a fact.
There is nothing funny about this.
I’m dead serious.
It is the flu pandemic that has finally brought to light the most shocking statistic in modern times: that over two thirds of people who were vaccinated against the virus in the last year have died.
As many as half a million people have died from the flu since March 1.
This is a death toll more than the entire population of the US, and many more will die before the end of the year.
But what is it?
What is the cause of this mass mortality?
What has been the impact on the NHS and our healthcare system?
The first thing I want to tell you is that this is not about you, the healthcare worker, who may or may not have had a vaccination.
This epidemic is a health crisis that will never end.
There is no reason to be afraid, it seems.
What is going on is not just a matter of misinformation and fearmongering but of a profound lack of communication, a lack of empathy, a disregard for human rights and basic standards of decency in the public health sector.
As we get into the final days of the pandemic, there is one message that has been resonating with people across the world: This is the end.
And we are not going to be saved.
It may sound a little extreme, but in truth, this statement was the perfect expression of the sentiment of many who have been suffering under the coronavirus.
The pandemic has not been a perfect crisis, but it has been a catastrophe that has left many of us without a home.
It’s not the first time we have faced this crisis.
It will not be the last.
This is a story about our collective failure to act on the most fundamental of human rights.
It is a narrative that will resonate with people from all walks of life, as they struggle to find a place in a rapidly changing world.
It has been an awful year for many of the people who are most vulnerable to the pandemics pandemic.
We are all sick, some of us have died and there are still people who will be infected this year.
The majority of us who are healthy are not receiving the health services we need and the majority of our loved ones are not getting the care they need.
The pandemic is a global tragedy.
It has touched every corner of our lives.
I am here to tell the story of the most significant challenge facing the world in recent times.
This story has been told before.
The stories of the early 20th century and the wars that followed it are timeless.
They are stories that we are all struggling with today.
We all have been struggling with these stories for decades, as we are forced to choose between survival and an uncertain future.
In the early days of globalisation, it was the world’s largest economy, the United States, and its allies that faced the greatest challenge of all: the pandepics.
We saw the world divided by economic conflict and a war between rival nations.
But this was not just about the economic conflict.
This was about the very nature of humanity.
We are all a product of our environment.
We all have to do our part to protect our environment and make sure it is managed wisely and effectively.
This can be as simple as choosing to leave your lawn to grow flowers and then taking them home to enjoy them.
Or as complex as a world where we are living in a new climate that is changing our ecosystems and causing a wave of disease that threatens the lives of millions of people.
We live in an interconnected world.
We share information, we build networks, we trade, and we trade again and again.
But we also share in our vulnerability to the consequences of our behaviour.
It means we all share the responsibility for the world we live in, for our behaviour and for the future of our planet.
As a nation, we have always been a part of this shared responsibility.
And now we have to face this reality and work together to make sure we have a better future.
I am so very sorry for what has happened.
This disease is killing a lot of people, and I want you to know that it is not a new problem.
We have faced the threat of influenza before.
We’ve had influenza-related deaths.
We had pandemias.
We will continue to work hard to make the world a better place, and the first step is to address the pandemaker’s greatest fear: death.
So, how do we respond to the challenges of the world?
The answer is not to be scared, or to take the easy way out.
We must take a collective and holistic approach to this pandemic and ensure that we have the resources to deal with the consequences.
In my role as the President of the Irish Federation of Healthcare Workers, I am determined to ensure that