Good morning, Saints,
Here is the second part of my expanded epistle for January 2021.
You already know that the COVID-19 situation has flared up, possibly with a SARS COV-2 mutation that we received from the UK (and that has now spread to France). My family was on holiday but then decided to return home to GP 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 church gatherings.
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.
Recently, I have had family and colleagues infected with coronavirus, and I have lost a number of 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 but spread through the air is killing people. You will remember in the 90s, a whole swathe of people denied that HIV could kill.
Whilst those “debates” were raging, I held people’s hands as HIV took their life. For them, it wasn’t a debate. It was death.
You will remember how 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 in the face of HIV, like following safe sex practices, and ARV drugs, have literally saved countless people’s lives.
Let’s not take 20 years before we normalise SARS COV-2 behaviour change and vaccination.
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 that we can now vaccinate against. Immunisation works!
But we each have to do our part.
May you and your loved ones stay safe.
Good morning, Saints,