Tween Talk with Eugenia Tachie Menson: We are not out of the woods yet…

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Literacy…is it limited to reading and writing only?
Eugenia Tachie-Menson

Collins dictionary shares that, if something or someone is not out of the woods yet, they are still having difficulties or problems.  It’s an expression of looming danger, being put mildly.  So what danger am I talking about?  COVID-19…yes, it’s still with us.  Whilst over 1.2million number of Ghanaians have been vaccinated (one dose only), making up only 2.1%* of our population – that’s scarily low.  Let me quickly add that the (two-dose) vaccines do not guarantee one will not get the virus; it rather keeps the symptoms milder when one catches it.

Ghana’s Covid-19 statistics as of July 21, 2020 Credit Gh Health Service FB Page

Yet, Ghana’s two-dose numbers are worryingly low; we are not guaranteed herd immunity, where a large part of our population (being the herd, in this case) is immune to a virus. Herd immunity makes it harder for a virus to spread, so even those who haven’t been sick or vaccinated have some protection.

What has worsened our plight is the new strand of the COVID-19 that has found its way into Ghana – the very dreaded and quickly-spreading Delta variant.  From what has been gathered so far, people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus seem to have protection against the full force of Delta, but those not vaccinated, and not practicing preventive strategies are at risk for infection by the new variant, the doctors are saying. **

Here are other points I found out about you need to know about the Delta variant.

1.Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains –It originally surfaced in India, and the first Delta case was identified in December 2020.  It spread quickly, soon becoming the dominant strain of the virus in both India and then UK.  On June 22, Ghana confirmed her first six cases of COVID-19 Delta variants among passengers arriving in the country.

  1. Unvaccinated people are at risk – People who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19are most at risk. This point cannot be overemphasized when you consider the fact that less than one million people in Ghana have received their double vaccine – and there’s almost 30million of us in Ghana. This truly is alarming, in the face of this new variant of the virus.  Apparently, young people are now a concern as well. “A recent study from the United Kingdom showed that children and adults under 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta,” says Dr. Yildirim, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist.  “As older age groups get vaccinated, those who are younger and unvaccinated will be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 with any variant,” says Dr. Yildirim.  “But Delta seems to be impacting younger age groups more than previous variants.”

3.Vaccinated persons can still contract it – According to a document released by Ngouchi Memorial Institute here in Accra, the new Delta variant of the virus spreads faster, and lingers longer than other variants, as has been evident in the retests they have done, where cases (being people who have been tested earlier) remain positive.  Some of the tests they have conducted are on healthy looking people (asymptomatic, you could say) and those who have taken the double vaccine and yet, have tested positive for the virus. This truly means we all are at risk and may have a major outbreak (again?) as a nation.

4.Protection – the most important thing we all can do is to protect ourselves from the Delta variant.  Ideally, full vaccination is the best protection; however, as this is presently not possible the barest (and cheapest) minimum protection we all can afford include,

  • Staying away from crowded gatherings (parties, churches, classrooms, etc)
  • Washing your hands frequently and or sanitizing them
  • Keeping your mask on anytime you must step out of your house – do not reuse your disposable masks; wash your cloth masks after every wear
  • Boosting your immune system with fruits high in vitamin C, and eating nutritious home-made meals
  • Getting in 30minutes of exercise daily – you can run/jog on the spot, skip or dance. Just stay active.
  • And finally, do keep social distancing at all times when you step out

Until then, stay safe and ‘bee’ safe!

  *Data and parts of information gathered from Reuters Covid tracker & Yalemedicine.org

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