All Our Lives Are About To Change
A week ago things were very different. We heard about coronavirus and knew it was a problem but we did not think that just a week later our lives would change so much.
South Africa is not in the midst of the epidemic. At the moment we have 116 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Almost all from people that had recently travelled.
There have been no recorded deaths or critical cases.
The epidemic is yet to cause havoc to our daily lives as seen in other countries in Europe. Although our lives have changed already and will continue to change rapidly.
Last week Sunday our president heroically announced a travel ban from high-risk countries entering South Africa. As well as banning gatherings of more than 100 people. His decision hopefully will save many lives and halt the rapid spread of the disease. Should thousands of people get infected at once, it will be a disaster for a health care system that is already strained, under-resourced and understaffed.
I remain hopeful that South African and other African countries have been given a small advantage over the virus as we have seen and can learn from other countries that have been badly affected. A month ago before the first case was even recorded in South Africa, our National Institue for Communicable Diseases (NCID) was hard at work preparing for the virus; training health care workers and setting procedures in place.
We have seen so far that a sooner a country reacts to the virus and puts in place measures to contain the spread, the fewer people that die. I hope that we have done enough to slow the rapid spread. We will most likely all get coronavirus at some point.
We are not in a State of Emergency as of yet. Although we may soon be. No one knows the outcome of this virus and what affect it will have on Africa.
On a personal note, many things have changed in my life. A family wedding set for April has been postponed to either September or October. My travel plans for April will have to be postponed or cancelled.
This virus has changed many things. We are keeping to socially distancing and are avoiding crowded shopping malls and the gym.
We are extremely lucky. Despite the upheaval this has caused and the uncertainty; we have access to good quality health care. We have homes where we can self-isolate. A luxury many South Africans cannot afford. Many South Africans live in informal settlements without basic services such as clean running water. My family, my partner, and his family are well off South African and selfishly the most upheaval this has caused are things we can easily do without.
We may lose money as a result of cancelling a holiday overseas. And yet so many South Africans don’t have the luxury of going overseas or the resources to go on holiday. In reality, this virus has caused a minor disruption. Should things get very bad very quickly many South Africans will struggle. As much as I am disappointed that the celebrations and travels we planned will not go ahead as planned I am terrified should this virus spread quickly.
7 million people in South Africa live with HIV/AIDS. Their immune systems are already severely compromised. If they get the virus their chances of survival are limited.
We are scared because while in Europe it is worse for old people, in Africa, many people live with poor nutrition, HIV/AIDS and TB and the virus will much worse for them.
I am terrified for our future.
On a positive note, I have faith in our government. So far they have responded quickly and put in place measures to halt the spread. We have seen epidemics before although nothing quite like this.
Our lives are about to change but by how much but we don’t. The uncertainty is terrifying.