By Isaac Mupwanyiwa
Between a rock and a hard place has been the situation around the world. Covid-19 caused panic in the modern world and reminded the people that there are powers above human reasoning nomatter which religion one follows. The biblical plagues come into mind as well as African folklores which tell stories of the gods being angry with the people and punishing everyone from kings to slaves.
The advances in medical knowledge and technology failed to combat the deadly virus leading to a socio-economic and political global standstill!
South Africa boasting the best medical facilities across the whole African continent is the most prepared in dealing with the pandemic, Africa wise. Luckily a steroid manufactured in the country has been proven to be effective in saving Covid-19 patients. The steroid, Dexamethasone is manufactured by Aspen, a pharmaceutical company in South Africa.
The Health Minister, Dr Mkhize in his public statement to the nation said, South Africa will use the drug as a means of coronavirus treatment, but warned that the drug should not be seen as a cure.
Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory medication to prevent swelling in the human body
In, an interview with eNCA, Dr Mkhize promised that the medication will be useful for people in intensive care (ICU), on oxygen or ventilators.
Where the drug has been used it has been able to save lives at rates between 20% for those on ventilators and 30% of those on oxygen and its a promising rate. But to those with mild symptoms it hasn’t proved effective.
This has given hope and there is now light at the end of the tunnel. This dexamethasone is not a cure but may only reduce the mortality rate.
The troubling issue is lack of discipline in practising safety measures among the citizenry. Since the government relaxed control on movement everything seem to have returned to normal. This is in contrast with the rising cases of new infections and deaths. Municipalities are requesting mass burial sites but people on the streets are relaxed and are no longer afraid of the virus. To many, it seems as if the relaxation by the government chased away the corona virus or maybe it created immunity to the people.
Officially South Africa is on level 3 of lockdown but the rules have been broken as people are moving freely with or without masks especially in the townships. Shops and other public places refuse entry to any personnel without a mask. Public transport operators are also breaking the social distancing rules and are not sanitizing passengers in their taxis. They have even defied the number of passengers per load and reverted to full capacity!
Business has suffered and some companies are scaling down their labour and this adversely affect a lot of people. The South African economy has been struggling before the Corona pandemic and the COVID-19 worsened the situation.
The relaxed approach has been met with mixed reaction across the social strata. Business people welcomed the idea as production resumed and it was hard for them to just pay rentals and labour costs whilst business was lying idle.
Workers are also happy for they can be assured that they may continue to be employed , for a prolonged stoppage could lead companies to close shop or reduce labour size. “I was scared to just get a salary whilst at home, it’s something that will not last long, i am happy to be back at work”, said a visibly elated Thulani, who works for a clothes retailing shop.
The opening up of churches is viewed with mixed reaction too. “It’s good to mix at places of worship but we can pray at home instead of causing unneccessary conduct. God loves us he will never punish us for not going to temples the church is your deeds not regular attendance”, said Sondo a young lady who goes to the Anglican Church. ” Look at the spiking rate of new infections people must exercise extreme caution otherwise we will blame God for our poor decisions”, she cried.
Madzibaba Lameck of the Johanne Masowe Chishanu when asked his opinion he said he was happy to be back to their shrine of worship for God would guide them through the Corona pandemic.
The rising numbers of infections in South Africa are now worrying and chances of contracting the virus in public spaces are now high. Health experts are expecting the Corona pandemic to reach its peak around July and August so a rise in deaths is expected!