The tensions are rising throughout South Africa with a 38% increase in cases reported today from the previous day. Many citizens suggested that a lockdown would be a good way to prevent the further spread. President Ramaphosa took precise measures to make this a reality and starting from the 26th March 00:00 the nation will go into lockdown.
As testing intensifies the number of active cases will increase, at first it may seem alarming but with increased testing, the active cases will also coincide with this.
Should we take it seriously?
Yes! All South African’s should take Coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously. The virus itself is highly contagious and proven to not be the same as the “seasonal flu”. The rate in which it spreads is 2.2, which means one infected person on average has the chance of infecting another 2.2 people.
The World Health Organisation said “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.”
The issue that South Africa could face in the coming month is the lack of people listening to the advise, this is not unheard of and is happening in other countries around the world right now, there are certain individuals have the mindset of ‘It won’t affect me’.
Boris Johnson, The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is facing a tough situation right now with very few listening the distancing advise and he said “If people can’t stay two meters away from each other then we will look at additional measures.” – He went on to apply lockdown on the country last night with members of the public still defying his words.
There is always a chance you wouldn’t get infected, but at this stage it’s an invisible killer and those in the high risk categories will suffer the most.
Before the lockdown Twitter users were out in force screaming to lock the country down, “This is bad news, we need to be indoors for a week and we can stop the spreading. I wish we could all listen and be responsible to reduce and new infections. Problem is when the number of new infections increases we getting screwed more and more and this will affect all” said one Twitter user.
What can I do to help?
You may be wondering, what can “you” do to help, that answer is… a great deal can be done by yourself. South African citizens play a vital role in slowing this virus, as the carriers and also those that can infect others it’s important to take the necessary steps.
The Department of Health has provided a substantial amount of information the past two weeks answering all the questions citizens have thrown at them.
The most important steps to take are:-
- Social Distancing
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds
- Sanitize your hands
- Avoid shaking hands
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of it safely after
- Maintain a high level of hygeine
- Stay indoors during lockdown, only come out for necessary travel (Food, Medicine etc)
If you do not need to be outside and it’s possible for you to stay inside then take these necessary steps, avoiding contact with others removes the chance of being infected.
Should I be worried?
You should not be worried, however, you should be vigilant and follow all guidelines to prevent infection. If you have underlying health conditions then you have an increased risk of the virus becoming fatal.
If you fall under the “underlying health conditions” category then you can simply follow the national guidelines and that is to ensure you are isolated during this time. If you lower your social interaction and also stop unnecessary trips you lower the risks substantially.
Why should I stay in if I don’t have “underlying health conditions”?
The government has activated the lockdown to start on the 26th March 2016, however in the meantime following self-isolation regardless of the person’s health is to lower the rate and chances spreading the virus, you may feel fit and healthy but the chances are at some point you will walk past someone who is not so lucky.
Data has been coming to light that a large number of cases are actually ‘asymptomatic transmission’. This is the method in which the virus spreads, the infected will show next to no symptoms but they will be highly contagious.
We now know that asymptomatic transmission likely [plays] an important role in spreading this virus,” said Michael Osterholm
Is there a vaccine?
No vaccine is available right now for COVID-19, however, there are companies around the world working quickly to get one available for the public.
Pandemic experts are urging for Governments around the world to slow the virus to save lives and also allow time for a vaccine to be in place, this won’t be available for at least another 18 months.
“Like most vaccinologists, I don’t think this vaccine will be ready before 18 months,” says Annelies Wilder-Smith
“About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine, at least four of which already have candidates they have been testing in animals. The first of these – produced by Boston-based biotech firm Moderna – will enter human trials imminently.” said The Guardian
All statistics in this article are cited from the World Health Organisation and taken on the 24th March 2020, these numbers can change throughout the age of this post.