IN TOUCH| WHAT MORE CAN BE DONE?

On one day this week, 135 Covid-19 related deaths were confirmed by the ministry of health, 56 of which were from our province, bringing the number of deaths caused by the pandemic since March this year to 22 574 in the whole country. This means that more than 2500 people per month have died this year from Covid-19 related deaths. These are our mothers, aunts, brothers, sisters and friends who would ordinarily have been alive had there been no pandemic in our midst. If there was no pandemic you would still have a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, a relative or a friend by your side today. You would either wake up with them by your side if they were your partner or see the colleague at work or see your friend after work or pick up a phone and call your mother if it were not for the pandemic. I will let that sink in.

When the major restrictions were lifted we were warned of the onset of the second wave and we were told that it is usually deadlier than the first. The Spanish flu of 1918  was used as an example whereby the second wave was even deadlier than the initial outbreak. It was estimated that 50 million people worldwide died from the Spanish flu and more than 500 million were infected. Of more importance was the death rate resulting from the second wave which killed a lot of younger people, which is being mirrored here in our country. They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Maya Angelou said: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Clearly, we have not heeded any of these warnings as we are now smack bang in the middle of a catastrophic second wave, something we were constantly warned about when the restrictions were being lifted.

The president once said: “It is all in our hands” and sadly, we are dying by our own hands both literally and figuratively. What else must be done? People simply do not care, others are attending ‘rave’ parties, celebrating the end of writing matric exams while others are partying in night spots with zero adherence to any of the health protocols. This weekend is the start of the ‘festive season’ so we can expect more movement of people across the provinces and many people will be on holiday and have more time on their hands. This is a deadly cocktail. What more can the government do if we do not act responsibly? I really do not see what more the government can do, other than to force upon us the pernicious lockdown which has been shown to be itself a problem. The lockdown has too many unintended consequences and is not really an attractive option. So what is left? Must we let nature take its course? Must we let what is called ‘thinning the herd’ to do its work? Sadly, that is the only option forced upon us by the reckless behaviour of many.

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