BY Dr JOHANNES MARISA
Today, everyone has come to know about India, a country that holds the second largest population in the world with about 1.4 billion people.
This is the same country that has witnessed floating bodies of Covid-19 victims in the Ganges River, an unfortunate situation which has never been seen in any other country before.
That alone depicts a grim picture globally as India has the potential to spread the virus to all the nations of this universe considering the squalid conditions in some parts of their country, the poor health infrastructure in the rural areas coupled by overcrowding.
At least 4 000 people are losing their lives daily due to Covid-19-related complications with close to 300 000 new cases daily, a situation which threatens to spiral out of control.
Many people are talking of numerous phases of the pandemic and the associated virulence, hence the incessant need for vigilance. This is sad for sure as human lives are lost.
Today all of us need to be alert about the B1.617 variant which is wreaking havoc in India. It has high transmissibility, with the young age group of between 20 and 30 years being affected in India.
Those without comorbidities are in equal trouble, a development different from the previous attacks where the old ages were more infected than the younger generation.
It is very difficult to avoid viruses, but we can take some obvious measures to contain them so that we do not continue to fall prey to them. The second wave that struck us in January 2021 was indiscriminate and getting another unrelenting wave worse than the second wave will be calamitous forever.
We ought to be extra careful as a nation and the nation should be reminded about the following:
n That South Africa has started to experience the third wave of the Covid-19 and it again started with the arrival of returnees from India.
It is not surprising that Mzansi has started to recorded at least 3 000 cases of Covid-19 per day, an alarming figure considering that just three weeks ago, daily figures were as low as 500 cases. We all know that with close to 3 million Zimbabweans being in South Africa, any afflictions which affect South Africa may extend to us as the immediate neighbour. In as much as we quarantine those from India, we should bear in mind that there are many border jumpers coming from South Africa via illegal entry points like Chiqualaquala, Gezani and Beitbridge.
Let us keep our eyes open lest we perish in the midst of denial and false heroism.
n That many people are now neglecting public health measures like social distancing, masking up, hand-washing and sanitisation which may breed misery in the few weeks to come.
We ought to remain alert as a nation, but mere observation of what is happening especially in the high-density suburbs leaves a lot to be desired.
We want to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed in case of an attack so the best thing to rush to is to flatten the epidemiological curve while raising the line. If many people are going to be infected at the same time, we have a high risk of fatalities as medical staff may fail to cope with pressure.
n Gatherings should surely remain banned as of now. Politicians should realise this. It should be noted that the Indian government erred in 2021 when it allowed large political and religious gatherings and on March 8 2021, the Indian Health minister declared that India was now free of Covid-19 despite warnings a week earlier by medical experts that the country was on the verge of being hit by a more dangerous strain.
The way people are now behaving in Zimbabwe leaves a lot to be desired with some arguing that there is no more Covid-19 in the country.
That is mere beerhall talk that should be condemned by everyone who is sober-minded. Today close to 600 000 people have at least received a single Covid-19 jab. Those who were sceptical about the Sinopharm vaccine were left with egg on their faces.
We came to realise that the Sinopharm vaccine was one of the safest vaccines and has not been associated with reported blood clots. South Africa tried the Oxford-made AstraZeneca, but stopped it after realising that the dominant strain of the Covid-19 at that time, 501 V2, was resistant to the vaccine.
It was to pursue the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that uses recombinant DNA technology, but halted on the way after reports of fulminant blood clots before resuming again. Many people therefore lost confidence in the vaccination process. A lot of South Africans have been reported to be crossing to our
n That people should never be complacent at this juncture. It is time that health education be given as much as possible and mass media should drive the information dissemination process.
There are some of us who now think that Covid-19 never appeared and who are very much sure that the virus will not hit them. We need to be reminded that we are not yet out of trouble and any slight mistakes can result in calamity.
Keep yourself safe. Know again that Covid-19 is knocking on our doors, so be careful wherever you are.
- Dr Johannes Marisa is a medical practitioner and public health practitioner who can be accessed on email@example.com