The invention of the Internet shrank the world into a global village. On the 7th April 2021 when I read from the Johns Hopkins Corona Virus Resource centre that Brazil had suffered 4000 deaths in 24 hours, a cold shudder went down my spine. Brazil has a new more virulent strain that runs a short clinical course than the original one. It has affected the youth in big numbers. Many video clips of elderly parents wailing after the deaths of their children are making rounds on the Social Media. Their echoes keep ringing in my ears. The crisis is compounded by the country President’s continued rejection of public health restrictions such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and lockdowns. As a health worker , I have always believed that the greatest asset for each country is its people and these people must be healthy first to engage in economic activities and the growth of their country.
This has reminded me of the period of the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana in the late 90s. The president then- Festus Mogae, made this bold statement: ” Botswana was threatened with extinction.”
Thereafter, he made HIV/AIDS a national priority and launched Botswana’s Mass Antiretroval Therapy Programme- MASA( New Dawn) in 2002. I was working there and was very privileged to be part of this comprehensive programme. With such a committed leader and a stable democratic government, we saw a dramatic drop in AIDS-related deaths from 21,000 in 2002 to 5,800 in 2013. The decline in numbers was sustained for the following years. There were many challenges but the results fired us to work even harder to overcome them.
The COVID-19 virus is not going anywhere anytime soon. This demands that wherever we are, we have to triple our efforts to fight it. Currently, USA, Brazil, India and Mexico are the countries most hit by the virus.
From the Johns Hopkins Corona Virus Resource Centre, as of the 20th April 2021,
There were 142,965,975 global confirmed cases and 3,044,492 global deaths.
Brazil had 14,043,076 confirmed cases and 378,003 deaths.
South Africa had 1,568,366 confirmed cases and 53,887 deaths.
Some encouraging news came in from Israel last week. Israel has had half of its adult population vaccinated fully against Covid-19 disease. As a result, the number of new cases and the number of patients developing the severe form of the disease has declined. They seem to have put themselves on the path of herd immunity by this campaign of massive vaccination.
The majority of us feel that the pandemic has gone on for so long that we have started suffering from Caution fatigue or COVID-related fatigue. The fatigue is affecting our physical and emotional wellbeing.
However, the numerous deaths happening around us during the third wave of the pandemic, prompt us not to relax until the transmission is reduced to the lowest level possible worldwide. This echoes what Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director- General of the World Health Organisation, has been telling us all along:” We are not safe until everyone is safe.”
The vaccine offers us hope for attaining herd immunity but the public health measures of:
- Frequent washing of hands using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- Proper use of Face masks
- Physical distancing- maintaining 2 metres between you and other people.
- Limiting social gatherings and time spent in crowded places.
- Avoiding close contact with other people- no hugging, no shaking of hands.
These measures are still in place to reduce the transmission of the virus in our communities. Prevention is better than cure more so with this Covid-19 infection in the 60 plus groups of any population.
Here are some inspiring quotes to keep us going in this state of confusion, caution fatigue and uncertainty.
” If there is life, there is hope.’’ – Stephen Hawky
” A little hope each day can fill rivers to overflowing. ”- Unknown
” Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.’’- Christopher Reeve
” And sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we still hope.’’- Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey
If the rhythm of the drum beat changes, then the dancer’s steps must adapt. – Kenyan Proverb
The best way to eat an elephant in your path is to cut her up into little pieces .- African Proverb.
”The sun never quits shining. Sometimes , clouds just get in the way.’’– Unknown
”The forces that are for you are greater than the forces against you.’’– Joel Osteen
For those of us who have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 disease and are grieving, find a little comfort in the following:
”We grieve because we love. The intensity of the grief often proclaims the depth of our love.’’- Gary Roe
One of my favourites over the years: FOOTPRINTS IN THE SANDS by Mary Fishback Powers
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
” Lord you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest
and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You
the most, You would leave me.’’
He whispered, ” My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.’’
Other than allowing ourselves to feel overwhelmed and distressed, let us re-evaluate the meaning of life and pick valuable lessons from this Covid-19 health/economic crisis. It will help our spirits grow stronger.
How often do you count your blessings during this dire situation?
Has it helped you realise that things could be worse off?