Of An Unfolding Pandemic

The Anatomy Of A Pandemic

I still remember late December when news started making the circles that there was outbreak of a “mysterious” flu-like epidemic…. Fast forward to a few short months later the Corona Virus Disease of 2019 COVID-19 has been declared by WHO as a pandemic.

Image result for who declares pandemic

The panic is real, countries are now adopting stringent plans as boarders are closed and there’s lockdown, with restrictions on non-essential movements, curfews and mass gathering bans. Self-isolation and social distancing order of the day.

 social distancing

I am sure I am not the only one for whom this started off as a distant nightmare that this would just be something I heard in the news but as its spread so has the realization, that no; this nightmare is not somewhere out there…. its here, amongst us.

Now what do we do about it?

For a while the African continent had been untouched; leading people into almost believing that perhaps there was some protection; was it the melanin, was it the climate? There’s “no scientific evidence” to suggest melanin will help you fight the virus, and warm climate kills off the virus and reduces transmission

FACT: Coronavirus transmission in hot and humid climates

**Even if warm climate did reduce the viral efficacy for those in the southern hemisphere Winter Is Coming

Our government has adopted a host of measures to combat the pandemic

  • Hospital visits have been reduced to one person per day, involving relative per patient.
  • Gvt has put a blanket ban on gathering in nightclubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gyms and sporting activities.
  • Public gatherings should not exceed 50 people. These include religious fellowships, conferences, workshops & funerals
  • all the country’s borders have been closed for all non-essential travel for both in-bound and out-bound traffic

Informal markets will remain open, but citizens are encouraged to limit their visits while health and security personnel will be deployed to enhance screening services. With regards to mass transport, new measures will be announced shortly for the safety of commuters.

Though I would applaud the government’s proactiveness in trying to take a firm control of the situation the measures seem broad and sweeping but lacking on practical decisive action.

Most of what one should do sounds simple enough even my six year old niece can rattle of five things to do to stay alive.

do the five coronavirus

Do The Five:
Hands wash them
Elbow cough into
Face do not touch
Distance 1 meter apart
Feel unwell stay at home

A practical approach

But when we are being practical about it:

Handwashing is talked about a lot, but we forget to mention the water situation, having running water coming out of taps at the turn of a faucet is practically a luxury some do not have…

Handwashing station
Ecosure partnered with Hitbay Sanitation Services and 
@cohsunshinecity
 to deploy hand washing basins in Harare's busy areas.

These will help in promoting washing of hands as a preventive measure to fight the spread of #COVID-19
Ecosure partnered with Hitbay Sanitation Services and @cohsunshinecity to deploy hand washing basins in Harare’s busy areas.

“Use handsanitiser” someone says.

But have you checked the cost and availability of hand sanitizer and soap lately? Its not something in the immediate reach for some people…

Some people are getting face masks (even though WHO says there’s no conclusive evidence to show that a face mask would significantly reduce the risk of an ordinary person contracting the virus, it may help stop an infected person from spreading the virus and the few that are available should be spared for personnel in the health care industry who are frontline in the war with the pandemic)

The president announced a ban on gatherings larger than 100 50 but what to do with people in queue for mealie meal, a queue for money at the bank…

bank queue

mwize meal queue

You might as well as forget about social distancing when you are in Combi (public taxi minivan) which transports about 18 passengers or in the cheap ZUPCO buses ( I am not even sure how  many people fit in that)

zupco
zupco

How about self-isolation and self-quarantine? For starters ever thought about how many people some of us live with, and not forgetting the lodgers and their family we let out the “inside” rooms to and the visiting relations, *in two weeks it will be schools have closed, youngsters everywhere….

Lockdown? How do you lockdown when the majority of people are informal hustlers how do you work from home when you earn your sustenance by selling produce on the city streets; when staying at home means starving yet plying your trade is a danger to yourself and others?

vendors harare cbd

So what should we do:

Well wash your hands and avoid touching your face even though I have caught myself many many times in the course of writing this post, touching my face, fiddling with my hair, stroking my beard while I was thinking, oh dear, we are so going to die…

Suddenly I am feeling an itchiness in my nostrils and a heaviness in my chest… oh no what if I have it? I am not even sure what happens getting tested seems like a mission of itself I dont know what you have to do to get tested…

If you are unwell stay at home…. and then what?

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Source: WHO QnA

You may be fine and survive but think about the person you could pass it to, you would low key have murdered them if your negligence led them to catching the virus.

Disinfect door handles, and other surfaces virus could lurk like computer keyboards, remote controls, your phone.

Also I have noticed a curious thing about people forgetting about the taps you wash your hands then touch the tap again, rendering the whole washing your hands while singing happy birthday useless… disinfect your taps, disinfect your sanitizer bottle; some have suggested using wipes to close of your faucets especially if they are the regular turn to open and close ones.

Also with all that hand washing routine your hands may dry up dont forget to moisturise.

Watch out for fake news, do not spread fake news, do not start fake news get updates from official sources like WHO CDC Ministry of Information Ministry of Health

Did you ever see this quote said to be from the Italian Prime Minister?

Firstly the man in the photo is not the Italian Prime Minister the man in the picture is Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Secondly Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made no such statement

Did you ever share this quote?

Before you share anything remember the fake news control mantra Stop Reflect Verify

A few important contacts

Techzim updated their WhatsApp bot to give information and updates just sms Health to the number +263717684274 and access the service.

COVID-19 updates from techzim

Ministry of health South Africa also has a WhatsApp bot for information and updates on Coronavirus. to start sms hi to +27600123456 or click below

The World Health Organisation also has ChatBot for COVID-19 information and updates

Keep in touch with people via internet than going to see them in person and yeah you can while you lockdown/quarantine/self isolate you can read my blog or start your own if you don’t have your one; maybe writing about your experience could help you process things or maybe from you may find you have practical tips to share…

If you can work home, then do so… I think after we survive this pandemic this might very well be the diametric shift which will see some corporates seriously implement remote work and realise there’s no need to maintain big fancy offices, when simply with a computer, a phone and an internet connection one can pretty much work from anywhere in the world….

Stay Safe

~B

12 Comments

  1. That is #1. Don’t share fake news. I wish people understood what that really means. Research what you post. Look at the website it comes from. I posted on Facebook that the only places I’m getting information is the CDC and WHO. Not our President who seems to think it’s going away by Easter. I hope your country is not hit hard with this. Right now, my county is on shelter-at-home status. And I get what you’re saying about all the difficulties of people keeping distance or staying home. They sadly just have to do the best they can. Please hope that your government is making preparations though with supplies for treatment. Being proactive as our President was not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. why do people start fake news in the first place??? thats something I have always wanted to know, to what end?
      I think we are at that stay at home stage and followed by live and/or die at home
      ~B

      Like

      1. When I see people sharing some fake news, it’s often as proof to their beliefs. See, I was right even if I’m wrong. My son sent me an article to read that suggests even with facts in our face, we stick to our wrong beliefs. It seems like people who write fake news want to play with us. Prove we’re sheep and easily led. Thinking of your country now and all.

        Like

  2. Reading through you and Zimbabwe’s story of handling the corona pandemic, the similarities with Uganda are many, there is a large informal sector over here as well, I would also borrow your words to describe our government’s action, “the proactiveness in trying to take a firm control of the situation is impressive, but the measures are broad and sweeping, lacking on practical decisive action.”
    Also the prices of sanitizer, masks, salt and dry foods are going up.

    Ps: I like the way you describe the precautions, its easy to remember even for a child.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Anita.. From social media responses I have gathered Uganda’s situation has a lot of similarities… we havent yet got a ban on public transport but its probably a brewing decision.
      I try not to watch too much of the news but saw an article about how in Rwanda two people were shot killed by the police for defying lockdown…

      all we can do is let the things play out and hope the pandemic is controlled soon and the curve is flattened even though I have no idea what that means hahahahaha

      stay safe
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great, that the curve is flattened. I also gave the news a break for a bit.
        Also this brutality thing of beating/threatening and anything else that causes pain, discomfort and endangers life isn’t cool.
        Same over here, we now have a 6 pm curfew and only essential staff working

        Liked by 1 person

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