From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, Argentina to Zanzibar, the whole world is under siege. The very existence of the human race is under a ferocious attack from the novel corona virus, officially labelled “covid-19”.
This virus has brought virtually every field of human endeavor to a frightening standstill. Every sector, be it agriculture, aviation, entertainment, tourism, commerce, trade, religion and sports has been adversely impacted.
Nations have shut their borders, airlines have cancelled tens of thousands of flights and virtually every country has banned public gatherings and introduced one form of movement restriction (lock-down) or the other. The Olympic Games, which hitherto had only been postponed because of the world wars has been postponed in our generation.
Several football leagues have either been suspended or cancelled worldwide, save Burundi and Belarus and the EURO 2020 championship has also been postponed. The usual untouchables such as church services, mosque visits, other religious gatherings and funeral services have not been spared this time round.
Most importantly, lives, human lives for that matter, have been lost. As at 5th April 2020, 11am, it is reported that a total of 1203485 people were confirmed worldwide as testing positive with 247001 recoveries and 64784 mortalities.
Based on the above figures, even though the mortality rate (5.38%) is lower than the recovery rate of 20.52%, it is still instructive to know that each of those 64784 people represents a loved one: either a father, mother, sister, brother, cousin, niece, nephew or breadwinner that has been lost. Lost for good, never to be seen ever ever again. In other words, the numbers are not just abstract numbers, there is a name, a face and a story to every one of these so- called “cases’. Each of these people would have had a dream, vision, idea or plan of some sort which the deadly virus has terminated.
We have all seen how the healthcare systems in even the advanced countries have and are struggling to cope. For instance, news had it that China built two new hospitals in as many weeks to fight the virus.
The UK has also converted London’s ExCeL centre into a temporary hospital to cope with an expected increase in coronavirus patients and branded it the NHS Nightingale. This Nightingale hospital will treat up to 4,000 persons making it one of the largest hospitals in the world if not the largest. This transformation was done in nine days underscoring the urgency and gravity of the issue at hand.
In the United States, President Trump has had to use the Defence Production Act to compel companies such as General Electric, General Motors and Ford to manufacture items that were in short supply to facilitate the country’s response to the covid-19 pandemic.
All these go to buttress the point that has been made by several world leaders that indeed “these are not normal times’’. There is therefore the individual responsibility on each and every citizen to do their very best to prevent infection by strictly adhering to the hygiene and social distancing protocols that have been widely publicized.
It is very disheartening that there are still some Ghanaians like my own good friend (name withheld) who believe that covid-19 is a Whiteman’s disease or a disease sent by God to punish gays, lesbians, prostitutes and those who snatch people’s husbands/wives. This is just absurd.
Such people are regrettably going on with their lives in a “business-as-usual’’ mode and this poses a danger not only to them but their families, other contacts and the whole society at large.
If you are one of such people, take a minute, pause and ask yourself, “what do I stand to lose if I follow the protocols and it turns out that the virus doesn’t exist’’?
Secondly ask yourself “what do I lose if I don’t follow the protocols and I get infected with the virus??
The virus does exist; therefore, I shall not even attempt to provide an answer to the first question. To the second question, there are a lot of answers.
If you get infected, you may end up infecting your immediate family or your ‘contacts’ and exposing them to full effects of contracting this deadly virus. Now, think of your son, daughter or wife dying as a result of your actions. Can you carry that cross for the rest of your life if you even recover?
Your family and other contacts may also infect others and the chain may continue as a result of your actions.
If you are not lucky to recover and you die, better pray that you are not the sole-breadwinner of your family otherwise your irresponsibility would leave your family in a very difficult and bitter position after your death.
The government/state would most likely bury you and your family may not even see your corpse for a burial/funeral.
Fellow Ghanaians, let us all come together to practice the hygiene and social distancing protocols and observe the movement restrictions that have been instituted. Let us also educate and encourage our families, friends and other contacts to do same.
According to the WHO, you can protect yourself and help prevent spreading the virus to others if you:
Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell
Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean
These measures represent our best shot at fighting the virus. Prevention, they always say, is better than cure.
Yes, it is true that there are recoveries, but that should not make us complacent or care-free. Even the advanced countries with arguably better health care systems and set-ups are recording hundreds of deaths a day. If we allow our country to register such high infection rates, I dare-say our mortality numbers will be worse than those of the developed countries.
There is an Ewe proverb, which roughly the translated into English says ‘’if even the green leaves are falling, what will happen to the dried leaf?’’
Let us remain calm and stay safe by doing the right things.