Be wary, the coronavirus has not wafted away

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Mercy Mwangangi, Health Chief Administrative Secretary speaks during a donation ceremony of equipment to help in the fight against COVID-19, in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua)

Worrying signs have emerged as the coronavirus pandemic continues to inflict massive humanitarian and economic damages across the globe. 

Here at home, the latest daily briefings indicating a downward slide in the number of infections have aroused illusions that the danger could be receding into the horizon. Far from it.

The dwindling figures do not tell the complete story viewed from a realistic and scientific perspective.

Kenyans beware – we can only drop our guard at our own peril, this deadly virus is still very much around.

Matters have not been assuaged by the authorities suggesting a “flattening of the curve” and pressure for the reopening of the economy, schools and other places of gathering. 

Not to mention calls to lift some of the restrictions and containment measures that have greatly contributed to preventing the spread of the disease, as well as other socio-economic benefits. 

These indications have seen people resort to careless, peculiar habits, abandoning precautionary measures that have kept the rate of infections low, other factors notwithstanding.

Of serious concern are reports over the past few days of a surge in many countries, with health experts warning citizens to prepare for another devastating wave of the novel coronavirus.

Sunday, September 13, 2020 the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering dashboard at Johns Hopkins University recorded 28,847,777 Covid-19 cases and 941,291 deaths globally.

This means we will likely hit 30 million cases, one million deaths before the end of this month.

It is accepted among medical circles and statisticians that the number of actual cases may be far higher due to a lack of testing, with much less than 10 per cent of the population tested.

Among the top 10, the US had 6,512,451 cases (193,976 deaths) followed by India 4,754,356 (78,586 deaths), Brazil 4,315,687 (131,210), Russia 1,059,024 (18,517), Peru 722,832 (30,526), Colombia 708,964 (22,734), Mexico 663,973 (41,717), South Africa 649,793 (15,447), Spain 566,326 (29,747), and Argentina 546,481 (11,307). Africa total 1,347,544 cases, 32,527 deaths. 

While these numbers may offer some comfort in Kenya (36,205 cases, 624 deaths), they certainly do not mean the virus has wafted away and we should stop wearing masks, keeping social distance and washing hands thoroughly with soap. 

Scientifically proven simple ways that have helped curb the spread of the disease.

Sadly, many Kenyans have been misled into ignoring them despite exhortations from public health experts. We must never forget that we are part of an afflicted global community.

Amid the devastating pandemic, we are now unwittingly categorised into losers and winners.

The biggest winners politicians, who have abandoned all pretensions to these protocols, dragging the biggest losers (citizens) into a tragic national theatre of the absurd in the name of civic education!

Granted, political will is paramount in mobilising, educating and motivating the people and health workers to control the pandemic, but not the kind we are witnessing from politicians. 

To effectively manage the health and socio-economic challenges facing us, we must strictly abide by the restrictive measures that have benefitted the public.

While they may have had negative economic repercussions for some businesses and resulted in job losses, on the other side these measures provide vital lessons for the present and the future.

As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the national and county governments must invest more in public health as the foundation of social, economic and political stability, because health is a human right and a necessity. [email protected]

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