Good morning, Saints,
You already know that the COVID-19 situation has flared up, possibly with a SARS COV-2 mutation in our country. We were on holiday but decided to return home rather than risk being stuck in the Cape for an extended and uncertain period. On the way back, the President announced a return to Level 3 and the shutting of gatherings.
It is what it is. Last year, we all did well to contain the spread of SARS COV-2, the coronavirus, but as the year drew to a close the party season meant that COVID-19 exploded – maybe even worse than the first wave did. Putting this into perspective, already, to date, more South Africans have died of COVID-19 than are murdered annually.
Recently, I have had family and colleagues infected with coronavirus, and have lost two colleagues in Ministry. Perhaps, this is true for you too. COVID-19 is drawing nearer and nearer. It is imperative that we all observe protocols and measures to protect ourselves.
During December, I also noticed that many people still do not take this virus as a serious threat. People in shops, on the beach, in restaurants. It was hard to see that we were in the midst of a pandemic. And now the country has gone back to Level 3 and we have travel bans.
President Ramaphosa is correct: we must change our behaviour in this pandemic. If we don’t, more people will die. Staying home; wearing a mask; washing hands; keeping a spatial distance from others outside your bubble will save lives. It is up to us.
People are dying. A virus too small to see is killing people. You will remember in the 90s, a whole swathe of people denied HIV could kill. During those “debates”, I held people’s hands as HIV took their life.
But the public denial ran all the way to the top. Today, no one questions if HIV is real or if Nevirapine causes autism or if AZT or 3TC are effective. We know these are effective treatments for viral load and for preventing mother-to-child transmission.
Behaviour change and vaccines work.
Behaviour change like following safe sex practices, and ARV drugs have literally saved people’s lives during the HIV epidemic.
Let’s not take 20 years before we normalise behaviour change and vaccines for SARS COV-2. We can beat this virus. Just as we beat HIV and the measles, diphtheria, rubella, smallpox, mumps, tetanus, and polio, in all over 20 serious diseases have been defeated via mass vaccination.
But we each have to do our part.
1. Behaviour change
May you and your loved ones all be safe!