Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. War in Ukraine is not yet an issue in Slovakia, even though it would have a direct impact. The president wants an interpretation clause added to a defence agreement or she will not sign it. Šimečka is the first Slovak to become European Parliament vice president. A prominent sexual abuse trial has begun.
Omicron pushed out Delta, at last
Last week a Czech folk singer that few people outside her musical community had heard of before made headlines worldwide – and not just in the tabloids. She had reportedly contracted Covid deliberately in order to get access to places that are only open to the vaccinated and the recovered during the ongoing pandemic wave in Czechia and Slovakia. Tragically, the infection led to her sudden death.
Her story attracted a lot of attention because she embodies the concerns that have arisen ever since a motley collection of conspiracy theorists and trolls started feeding on people’s fear of the unknown to discourage them from wearing masks, and later from getting vaccinated. Her case shows that disinformation can actually kill people.
But, as the Omicron wave started rising in Slovakia last week – with the new variant identified as being the source of the majority of Covid cases in samples sequenced last week – we can see that disinformation is far from the only factor weakening the public’s ability to cope with the virus.