Keywords: wear a mask; mask wearing; COVID-19; wash your hands, social distancing; self-isolation, self isolate, isolation, pandemic, stop spread of virus, premature reopening of economies, United States and COVID-19, ‘return to normal’, increased COVID-19 hospitalizations, precautionary for COVID-19, grandmother and COVID-19, empathy needed in COVID-19 to save lives.
The pandemic that took hold in December 2019 remains as strong as ever and seems to have become even more devastating than before. Rather than abating, COVID-19 seems to be wreaking more havoc worldwide. In the words of the director World Health Organization, the worst of the pandemic is “yet to come”. This appears not to be an over-exaggeration, considering that on July 12, 2020, there was a record-high number of cases of COVID-19 worldwide of 230,000 cases. More than that, there are dramatic increases in the incidence of the pandemic not only in the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, and Peru, but also in South Africa and other countries. In fact, the leading countries in terms of cases and deaths are the United States and Brazil.
U.S. at Top of the Leaderboard
The United States is at the top of the leaderboard with respect to number of cases and deaths. While the world has 13,127,030 cases and 573,664 deaths, the United States has 3,364,704 cases, and 135,615 deaths. The U.S. figures show just over 25 per cent of the world’s cases and just a little less than 25 per cent of the world’s deaths as a result of COVID-19.
COVID-19 May Appear Overwhelming
While these statistics may seem so overwhelming that many people cannot see how they are implicated in it, the truth is that every one of the deaths that have occurred represents a person, someone’s parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, relative or friend. We sometimes tend to think in abstract terms, but we must bear in mind that these deaths are of people who have been loved and who loved others. These are people who could have been or were our very own loved ones.
Why Should We Care
For those of us who have not had a loved one die from COVID-19, or who have not had a close friend succumb to the disease, it may be difficult to understand the pain that is involved. But for those of us who have lost loved ones, the pain is deep and long lasting. But we should all care when someone dies, because this is a human life that is lost forever. The pandemic is not a movie that is playing and then at the end, the person who has died gets up and walks away.
Let Us Not Be Selfish
We are selfish when we cannot empathize and realize that our actions can have an impact on someone else’s life. COVID-19 has shown itself to be a highly infectious disease. What we know so far is that the virus spreads very easily, much more so than other viruses in the past. We know that it is airborne, as shown by the many simulations that appear in reports. We are told to stay away from large crowds, do social distancing, wash our hands frequently, self-isolate, and wear masks in order to prevent the transmission. We are also told that many of us may have the virus but that we may be asymptomatic, meaning that we are not showing signs that we have it. With testing not up to what it should be, many of us who are asymptomatic can be spreading the virus with human contact. Seeing that the virus can be spread very easily, it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that whether symptomatic or not, that we do not spread the virus to anyone. Let us listen to science. Let us listen to our public health professionals.
More Empathy Needed in COVID-19
Even if we are selfish, let’s think about our actions. If we believe that we are fine, that we cannot get the virus or that we do not have it, we should also think that we could spread that disease to someone whom we love. Let us show more empathy in whatever we do, as our actions have consequences in saving lives.
Young People Taking Heavy Criticism
Young people are highly criticized because it appears that while some young people are dying from the virus, the virus seems to affect older people more. However, in recent weeks, the incidence of COVID-19 has risen in many states of the United States: Texas, Florida, California, Georgia, North and South Carolina. Much of this has come about because of the premature opening of local economies. With many governments not insisting on gradual opening or on the wearing of masks and other restrictions, some young people have been identified as those using excesses. Club scenes show young people disregarding social distancing, not wearing masks, and doing all the things that they are told not to do, because it would lead to the spread of the virus.
While economies were locked down for some weeks, the virus seemed to have receded, but with the pressure in most of the United States to reopen their economies, the virus has reasserted itself. While some people are calling for a ‘return to normal’ in terms of the economy, and while many states have reopened almost fully, most have been feeling the impact of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. While at first after reopening, some states saw a large percentage of the cases of COVID-19 among people between the 20s and the 50s, in more recent times, the increase in hospitalizations is among older people. Florida has shown a dramatic increase in the number of people over 80 years old who are being hospitalized for COVID-19. The thinking is that many of the younger people who were first showing increase in infection may have taken the infection back to their older relatives and acquaintances. This may or may not be the case.
Heavy Burden with Which to Live
Younger people accused of taking the virus back to the older people in their homes or in their communities bear a heavy burden, thinking that they must take some responsibility for increased cases and death. While it is not something that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, young people must consider that they could have played a role and take action to change the trends.
Precautionary – For Heaven’s Sake – Stay Away
Young people, stay away from your older relatives, parents and grandparents. Also, consider the older people with whom you associate. Consider their welfare. Consider also that the virus can spread to other young people, who are also succumbing to the disease in some cases. Stay away from bars and parties. They will still be available when we get through the pandemic. You can still communicate with friends and loved ones through social media, the telephone, and other meeting platforms.
If we all follow this advice, then our older people and our friends of all ages will be around after the pandemic. If we don’t but selfishly indulge our own pleasures without concern for others, then it is quite likely that our older people and some of our friends will not survive the pandemic. To help stop the spread of the virus: Wear a mask, avoid crowds, wash your hands frequently, self-isolate, and follow instructions about ways to stop the spread of the virus, as our public health professionals have indicated.
Remember, it could be your grandmother who becomes the next victim of COVID-19.