I’ve been trying to say less. To be more measured in with my words because we’re in a time when we should be even more careful about what we say and share. While there are more articulate and learned people who’ve shared their opinions and expertise, I need to say something. And this is to do with the spread of COVID, particularly in South Africa.

South Africa because it is where I am at present and I can’t speak for anywhere else.

I thought it would be helpful to talk about personal responsibility. Of course, there are many things that the government could’ve done and can still do better. This post isn’t about absolving government or pointing out where they are failing.

Here are the three out many reasons for COVID spread in South Africa as I look around me.

(These reasons aren’t ranked in any order of severity or ‘importance’.)

Reason #01: The Levels Of False Security

Our first (hard) lockdown was quite sobering. Almost awesome in the sense of the word–full of awe. It made a huge statement: “This thing is serious”. Ingrid and I took drastic measures for our safety and others’. For example, we opted for exercise in the house and I made one supplies run every seven days.

It seems every time restrictions were eased people somehow mistook that for COVID dissipating. I wonder if this contributed to subsequent wave(s).

Somehow people had a false sense of security. One of the reasons, among others, on the continued spread of COVID in South Africa is life almost seem(ed) like it was before. Minus masks and sanitisers, of course, one could think COVID had been vanquished to history.

We might know this in our minds but don’t seem to appreciate it with how we’re going by our lives. We need to keep reminding ourselves and each other:

Eased restrictions ≠ COVID dissipating.

We need to remember that while we do what we do we still need to take precautions. We might still to move up and down more lockdown levels like some countries. When or as this happens we need to keep reminding ourselves and each other that COVID is real and still with us.

Reason #02: Sanitizing Stations Made Useless

I know it’s not the same everywhere in the world but most public spaces in South Africa don’t allow you in their space until you sanitise your hands. There’s usually a person, who makes sure you do, and or hand sanitiser at the entrance.

Despite this I see too many people not sanitising their hands properly. Some of the things I’ve observed:

  • Wiping sanitiser off the hand(s) that it was put on after gaining entrance.
  • Getting sanitiser on one hand and not applied well to both hands.
  • Flagrant disregard for the rule(s) by not sanitising at all. I’ve seen this accompanied by harassment to staff who are only trying to enforce the rules.

    These measures, by the way, are not only to keep the staff and their families safe but all patrons / customers.
  • In some instances the people ‘dispensing’ the hand spray or sanitisers don’t spray enough. This makes it difficult to sanitize properly.

One of the reasons for continued spread of COVID in South Africa: people treat sanitising hands more like a secret handshake to gain access to place and not actually sanitising their hands properly.

Hand washing and sanitising are simple things to do. I wonder if it is this simplicity that undermines this potentially live-saving act. Or people see it as an annoying and unnecessary inconvenience.

That cleansing my hands could be life-saving for someone else, is awe-inspiring to me. And, I can’t imagine why it is sometimes seen as a burden. Is it because, as people we don’t want to be told what we should and shouldn’t do?

On a side note, for another time, I find myself wondering about our general attitude towards (personal) hygiene.

Reason #03 Lack of (Proper) Mask Wearing

Face masks should be covering both mouth and nose. It is infuriating seeing them worn as chin ornaments. One of the most annoying things I see is mask covering mouth and chin with the nose uncovered. There are occasions I’ve asked people to wear their masks as they should and they did.

a box of surgical masks

Short of policing people and being that guy who shouts at people in checkout queues, what else can we do about this? This is so frustrating. Of course, we’d all prefer not to have half our faces covered, but other people’s lives could depend on it.

I’m OK dealing with being infected with COVID but I can’t imagine not doing all I can to make sure that I’m not the reason someone else got it. Worse, it wrecks me thinking I could infect someone who might die from it.

Could we all just be decent humans and do as much as we can to reduce the continued spread of COVID?

TL;DR

Three of the many reasons for COVID spread in South Africa are:

  • False sense of security created when restrictions are eased. People need to keep reminding themselves and others that eased restrictions don’t mean COVID is gone.
  • People who don’t sanitize or wash their hands properly. Sanitize or wash your hands properly particularly when moving in public spaces.
  • People not wearing their masks and sometimes not wearing them as they should. Wear your mask–cover your nose and mouth.

One Last Thing

What would you do or not do to keep people you love the most alive? Go ahead and hate the regulations and rules. Some of which may even seem bizarre. As we do that could we all, at least, act as if the lives of our loved one depend on our actions.

I’m sure we’d sacrifice our egos and dignity to save loved ones.

What would you do or not do for the ones you love most? Do that.

Could we all be decent humans. Please.

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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