HEALTH TALK with Dr Johannes Marisa
Today, the world continues to be torn apart by the notorious Covid-19 and it is sad that close to 3,8 million people have since lost their lives.
At least 175 million are documented to have suffered from Covid-19 since last year, a figure which has potential to be even less than 20% of the real statistics.
It is not surprising that poor countries are recording insignificant numbers of Covid-19 morbidity and mortality. This may be due to poor data collection in respective countries, lack of adequate testing or mere ignorance.
Many people are talking of numerous phases of the pandemic and the associated virulence hence the incessant need for vigilance.
Everyone has noted the dingy scenarios of India where people are now throwing bodies in rivers like the Ganges River because the crematoria cannot cope with pressure. This is sad for sure as human lives are lost easily, a development that is deeply depressing.
Lately, Zimbabwe has been recording an average of 50 cases per day and it was on Thursday when five deaths were recorded in a single day. This alone should call for caution as neighbouring countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Angola are beginning to feel the heat of an imminent wave, which seems quite threatening.
While the third wave seems inevitable, it is our behaviour that leaves a lot to be desired. If national income was the main fighter against Covid-19, then the United States, Brazil, Italy, Germany and many other developed countries could not have been hit by the coronavirus to such unprecedented level.
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 just callous and getting another unrelenting wave more 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:
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 record at least 5 000 cases of Covid-19 a day, an alarming figure considering that just four weeks ago, daily figures were as low as 500 cases.
We all know that with close to three million Zimbabweans in South Africa, any afflictions which affect South Africa may extend to us as immediate neighbour. Let us keep our eyes open, lest we perish in the midst of denial and false heroism.
That many people are now neglecting public health measures like social distancing, masking up, hand-washing and sanitisation which may breed misery in 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 a 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 high risk of fatalities as medical staff may fail to cope with pressure.
That self diagnosis and self-treatment for longer than seven days should be avoided at all costs.
A lot of people surf information on the internet and subsequently look around for medication on their own while forgetting that Covid-19 can cause severe lung damage, encephalitis, renal failure or thromboembolism.
It is difficult to attend to Covid-19 in advanced stages especially in respiratory distress syndrome when saturation levels have fallen to below 60%.
Upon suspecting symptoms, please do not take chances.Instead, seek medical opinion, get early testing but bear in mind that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test has a sensitivity of around 70%. This means that close to 30% of the tests have potential to be false negative. This therefore calls for close monitoring of signs and symptoms.
Denialism will wipe us if we just assume that it is the seasonal flu that one has if the cardinal symptoms of Covid-19 are prevalent like sore throat,cough, headache, joint pains, loss of taste or smell.
Vaccination has been rolled and vaccines have been in short supply after at least 600 000 people have at least received a single dose of the vaccine in Zimbabwe.
At first, many people were skeptical about the vaccines, only to do last-minute rush on the vaccination process.
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