On the 11th March 2022, it will be exactly two years since World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 respiratory Disease a pandemic. No one saw it coming and no one could tell when it would end. But then, nothing lasts forever.
As of 05 March 2022, the Johns Hopkins Corona Virus Resource Centre gives the following statistics:
Total confirmed cases 445,221,450
Total deaths 5,996,046
Total Corona virus-19 vaccines administered 10, 579, 829, 314
From https://worldometer.info USA has suffered the most deaths: 975,150 as of 1 st March 2022.
Followed by Brazil : 649,443 and then India :514,054. From 1918 to 1919, the Spanish flu infected an estimated 500 million people globally and killed about 50 million people. USA suffered the most deaths at 675,000.
Total Confirmed cases 163,383
Total Deaths 3,590
Doses administered 16,672,943
People Fully vaccinated 2,706,785
Percentage of population fully vaccinated 6.11%.
The vaccine uptake has been slow ; less than the global target of 40% of the population by December 2020.
Confirmed case 263,950
Doses Administered 1,162,835
People Fully vaccinated 1,162, 835
Percentage Fully vaccinated 50. 48 %
Uganda relaxed the Corona virus-19 Lockdown restrictions on 25 January 2022 to open up the economy since the new cases had greatly reduced. More people were getting fully vaccinated.
I sincerely thank the health workers in my country and worldwide for having been on the frontline of this unprecedented war. I honour all those who lost their lives in the course of duty.
It feels so good and liberating to know that as long as I practice the safety guidelines of masking up, social distancing, avoiding crowded places and being updated on vaccination boosters, I can at least get out of my house and do a few essential tasks for myself.
It reminded me of the late 70s and 80s when the civil strife was at its peak here in Uganda.
We would stock dry foods and hide in our houses for days until the new group of fighters overthrew the sitting government and declared their victory over the national radio.
We would then come out cautiously as if walking on thorns and congratulate each other on surviving the assaults, the gun fire, the running, and the ducking. “Well –survived,’’ we would greet each other.
We have never forgotten those scary days.
If you are reading this post now I am saying to you, “ Well –survived so far.’’
With COVID -19, we have all suffered the mental torture caused by the fear and uncertainty , the many deaths that we could not mourn, the disconnection from loved ones and the fear of the unknown.
The disease affected all areas of our lives; many have died from it, others suffered from it and are yet to regain their health , many health workers died from it in the course of their duty, many especially those who previously worked in the service sector have lost their jobs. The dysfunctional service delivery systems have been laid bare and the marginalised groups in our population have been exposed.
The disease has consumed our time and attention for a whole two years! This is unprecedented. How we have all waited with bated breath for things to return closer to what we knew as normal.
Now we are living with the consequences of this lockdown period.
Reading through the stories of some of the survivors of the Spanish flu of 1918, I found many similarities.
The majority of people endured the devastation caused by the disease and became resilient. Trusting life, they strived to regain control of their lives.
The rest, like us responded according to their genetic makeup and surrounding environments. A few suffered symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
1.MILD- a few suffered mild symptoms like disturbed sleep, short periods of confusion and detachment.
2. Moderate- living in fear, anxiety and panic. These needed community support.
3.Severe – These failed to recover from the terrifying experience and developed what the psychologist call Post Traumatic Disorder. They became severely depressed and anxious and this affected their ability to function in social and work settings and negatively impact on their relationships. A number of them suffered from “ Survivor’s guilt’’- trying to figure out whether they deserved to live while others died.
This group needed psychotherapy with or without medication. It took them years to regain control of their lives.
Thankfully, the majority of us fall under the resilient that quickly come to terms to what happened and move on. Unlike the Spanish flu survivors, those who will develop moderate to severe symptoms have a lot of support due to the advances in medicine and increased community awareness of the condition.
I have no doubt that each one of us has learned something useful out of this two-year experience.
I have learned that the most important things in life is life itself- to be healthy, up and about followed by good relationships.
Well researched psychologists’ studies confirm that:
· Strong healthy relationships increase our emotional wellbeing. They hold us together during stressful situations and when we face difficulties in life.
· They create stability in our lives. They help to us to connect to others, to feel that we belong and that we are needed and matter.
· They help to bring out the “real us’. Each relationship elicits a different response in us helping us to learn about ourselves and grow.
· Bad relationships can be as destructive as any serious disease. In severe cases, they rob us of our self-worth and confidence, pushing us into depression and anxiety.
Many of us that will survive the impact of the long COVID -19 lockdown are supported by such strong healthy relationships.
As we pick up the pieces, we have to remember not to let our guard down since COVID-19 virus is still with us. It is still considered a public health emergency. Like some earthquake aftershocks, it could cause us more damage.
So let us adhere to the required SOPs, encourage people to get fully vaccinated while we keep learning and being updated on this disease which has caused so much turmoil in our lives.
“ WELL SURVIVED’’.
Are you able to talk about this unprecedented experience and are you being kind and patient to yourself and others as you pick up the thread of life?