What’s Next and How Does Each One of Us Fit in?
When I was little, I would happily respond to questions like; “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would stand up boldly, smile widely, and respond “I want to become a doctor.” It was the same damn doctor every single time. Obviously, that never worked out.
However, I cannot be sure about what tomorrow brings at this day and time. With the COVID-19 pandemic, no one is certain about the future anymore. I feel my legs shake every time I check the global factsheets on the infections and deaths. The NASA statements about asteroids approaching the earth are not helping with the dire situation either.
To be honest, I am tired of watching the news, reading the paper, and going over social media platforms because talk of the spread of the pandemic has infiltrated any space that we could previously escape to when we needed some peace of mind. Even the meme lords have succumbed to the trap of calibrating their content around the Corona craze. The only good thing from the pandemic is the highly creative TikTok videos of people making fools out of themselves and others showing us brilliant ways to avoid boredom.
Now, the question that lingers in my head is, what if this is the end of time? The end of humanity. The last days that each one of us will see before they succumb to the menace. As I am writing this, the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic stands at 146,855 while the total confirmed cases are 2,183,581. I know. They are highly disturbing figures but, it is what it is.
The Coronavirus has gone through the 5 steps of dealing with a highly troubling issue. When the first cases were announced in China and the initial deaths reported, everyone in other countries denied the possibility of it affecting them in their localities; Denial.
As the cases started spreading from Wuhan to the other cities in the world, people started becoming angry over the COVID-19 spread. Angry remarks were made, especially with the rest of the world alleging that the virus was a malicious warfare weapon targeted at some countries; Anger. Once various parts of the world started getting positive tests for the diseases, they realized that it was not business as usual. This realization made people very angry, which is not a bad thing because it is part of dealing with a highly disturbing issue.
The third step, bargaining, was characterized by random compromises that were meant to avert the pandemic. Here, people thought that a few steps such as screening people using infrared thermometers at points of entry such as airports could reduce the spread of the disease. It was a point where we thought that we could continue with our normal activities and still keep COVID-19 at bay. Obviously, this never worked because of the 14-days incubation period of the virus, which means its detection using thermometers alone is a futile effort.
Now, the fourth step, where most of the countries are in at the moment, is known as Depression. It is a time where feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and regret are the order of the day. People, institutions, and even governments are grappling with past mistakes and going back to how they could have handled the issue differently. They are finally aware of ways to move forward. Some of these aversive measures such as total lockdowns are highly inconveniencing because they could potentially plunge economies into recessions. The mixed feelings towards the situation now seem overwhelming to deal with as different authorities implement partial but effective measures to curb the spread and respond to the crisis through appropriate healthcare solutions.
Finally, most nations have already accepted that the COVID-19 is a force to reckon and unless we make concerted efforts to stop it, it will continue to spread, kill people, and cause unprecedented misery in the population. Stringent measures including movement cessation through the air, road or rail, lockdowns — partial and total, and other appropriate measures cities and countries have implemented all over. Health-conscious messages on staying safe including the use of hand sanitizer, social distancing, effective and safe usage of face masks, and the adoption of ‘Stay Home’ mantra are on a new high. It is now in the public domain that we must do everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus lest it wipes us all out.
With acceptance, major lifestyle changes are taking place at individual levels. People are closing down their business, those that can work from home have chosen that option. Brick and mortar stores are closing their shops and only fulfilling orders online, few people are moving out of the houses except on very important tasks. It looks like we are ultimately doing something to prevent the spread of the virus.
Sincerely, I believe that everyone is frightened at the direction the pandemic is taking, particularly the increased death rates across the globe. Even then our hands are tied on the actions to take because the situation is unprecedented. Every individual, institution or government is on its knees regardless of its financial or technological endowment.
Interestingly, we have the choice to exacerbate the situation or let the virus die a natural death. The continued interaction with other people as if everything is normal is the primary reason that the virus has spread to the insane numbers. A few days ago, a local politician (Kenyan) went to distribute food to the elderly people residing in a community setting. She had a mask, but sadly, it was only covering her chin. The images shared on social media showed her smiling brightly at the elderly constituents who, get this, wore no mask at all. So, the learned politician is willing to compromise her safety for the political mileage the images might give her on social media or what is so important that she had to throw all caution to the wind?
If we are to survive this carnage, we need not overthink what to do. The scientists are already working round the clock to ensure that a cure or vaccine is developed to curb the pandemic. Our role is to just sit tight, literally. We need to move only when it is necessary. You cannot get the virus unless you interact with a person that is already infected.
Verily, I tell you this; if you are COVID-19 free and still get out of the house or engage in unnecessary movements, it is only a matter of time until you meet someone that has it. And when that happens, God forbid if you catch it and take it back to the loved ones back at home.