REALITY CHECK: Covid-19 is here, drop the myths, stay safe and respect protocols

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as a worldwide spread of a new disease.

Over the decades, we’ve overstretched the real meaning of the phrase ‘the world is a global village’ thanks to essential tools like technology, the Internet (social media). However, reality has dawned on us with the outbreak of the novel Covid-19 virus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the first two months of 2020 seemed miles away from Ghana. The virus was first discovered in Wuhan, a city in China. It later spread through Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia, America and some parts of Africa.

We looked on as the world battle the disease with hope that it will never reach here. Myths were being circulated all over about the disease with some saying the virus couldn’t affect people of African descent or Africans. After a couple of weeks of believing this claim, NBA players started reporting of being affected by the Novel Covid-19 but that didn’t shake the believe around Africa until our beloved and most celebrated actor Idris Elba did a live video that he was affected by the novel virus. The black community was shaken and the rumors vanished as quickly as they started.

Oh! That didn’t end our misconception and misguided theories and belief in our strong immunity.
For us in the West African Sub region, we trusted the hot weather would kill the virus for us. Unfortunately that ended up being fake news as well!

Between late February and early March, our neighboring countries were affected by the novel Covid -19 virus, some early cases reported were with at least one or two cases. As this looked closer to home, we were still were not proactive enough to consider some precautions.

Well, as I sit here and convert my thoughts into words, Covid -19 is here with us, it started with two cases.

Like the “prayerful” and religious nation we claim to be, we kept praying that the recorded cases don’t multiply.

Unfortunately, today in Ghana, the numbers have increased from two to 137 cases, four deaths and two recoveries.

Alarmed yet?
Keep up with the number of cases in Ghana through the Ghana Health Services website:

Let’s talk about some facts about COVID-19

As of the 27th of March, the world has over 590,000 cases, over 26,000 deaths and over 132,000 recoveries. If you subtract Ghana’s existing 137 cases and 4 deaths from the world index, you would see the world is in so much distress and basic hygiene can make a lot of difference if we stop to observe the World Health Organization protocols.

A lot of countries at the beginning of this pandemic felt they could contain their Covid-19 cases. Unfortunately innocent lives are being lost. For instance in Italy, the number of deaths have overwhelmed their health system including some of their Frontline medical professionals who were trying to contain the situation.

The World Health Organization has outlined some precautionary measures for everyone to strictly adhere to stay healthy and alive.

Although most people are still finding it hard to observe the social distancing protocol.
Considering our housing deficit, and with multiple people sharing rooms and the lack of social amenities. How do we observe some of this protocols that have been set to keep more people alive and healthy?

How important is it to consider the health benefits of staying at home when you don’t have any core duty to perform at work or outside your house?

Social distancing is very important in this crucial moments when one bad move can cost you your life and that of your neighbors.

Some of the basic rules to observe include:

*Regular washing of your hands

* Using the hand sanitizer

* Disinfecting surfaces regularly to get rid of germs and viruses.

*Drinking water every 15minutes

* Exercising in your house to keep fit.

How the Virus spreads.

COVID-19 is contracted when one is exposed to Droplets of bodily fluids of an infected person – such as saliva or mucus, dispersed in the air or on surfaces by coughing or sneezing.

These droplets can come into direct contact with other people or can infect those who pick them up by touching infected surfaces and then their face, but how do you identify if someone is positive or not without showing symptoms? The following are some symptoms of COVID-19

* dry cough
* Runny nose
* diarrhea and vomiting
* inability to smell or taste food
*shortness of breath

The WHO reports additional symptoms too. Having 1 or more of the above symptoms is not a confirmation of having the COVID-19 but an indication that you should call the appropriate health centres for the appropriate Health intervention. As much as you might think rushing to the hospital should be the right move. You might be causing more harm than good. Rather, it is recommended you self-isolate, call Covid-19 Ghana’s dedicated hotline 112 or your nearest health facility. Speak to appropriate officials for the next steps to be provided to you. Notwithstanding the fact that COVID-19 could be airborne depending on your settings, it is imperative to move away from the crowd and always stay home.

As we face this pandemic, it’s time we make a choice and also display kindness. A choice to stay at home if you have no business outside or any important engagement. You should stay home and hold onto any family visit till this pandemic is brought under control. Let’s hold on to the parties, social gathering all till this is over.

Countries with advanced technologies and ultramodern hospitals have not been able to contain this. Let’s fight this virus with mutual understanding and respect for rule of law.

Lastly, let’s stop spreading false information and false cures. They are causing more harm than good. Let’s not spread panic but rather follow protocols and also protect each other.

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske @markusspiske.
Other photo’s credit: Fusion Medical Animation,
Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum