RESPONSIBILITY 1 FOR 2020: OVERCOMING PANDEMIC FATIGUE?
Keywords: Rights, responsibility, pandemic, mask wearing, Coronavirus, social distancing, contact tracing
Having faced the onslaught of the coronavirus at the end of last year and the over one million deaths that have occurred globally to date, we may be at the point of pandemic fatigue. We have suffered shock, grief, anger, frustration and varied emotions as we have experienced many of our loved ones dying as a result of this pandemic, and as many of us have suffered financial strain and loss as a result of lockdowns and bankruptcies. All of us have been touched in one way or another by these circumstances.
Infections Rising Again
We have also been told by our public health officials how we are to behave in controlling the spread of this virus. While some leaders have been more forthcoming in explaining the severity of the disease, others have hid the truth from us, leading to even more deaths than should have taken place. Be that as it may, as we see the numbers of infections rising dramatically again in some areas, where at one time these infections were under control, and as the number of hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing, we cannot become dejected or apathetic.
We may have pandemic fatigue. We may be tired of following instructions as to what we should do to control the spread of this virus. However, there are some who may not have taken this pandemic seriously enough. Some may even have been told that talk of the pandemic is only a hoax and many believed this untruth to their detriment. Many of us are also aware of our rights in making our own decisions and do not think that we should be told what to do. There are concerns over privacy and much more. But let us think about this situation seriously. There are times when we have to take stock of what we are told and this is when we have to use critical thinking and decide for ourselves what makes sense.
The right to decide not to wear a mask is considered very important to some, especially to those who may believe that the virus cannot take their lives. Some see the mask as a political statement. But think about it again. Does anyone have the right to deprive another person of the right to live? Does anyone have the right to expose other human beings who are vulnerable to this virus because of their health status? When thinking about rights, let’s not only focus on our rights, but also on the rights of others who have to share communities with us.
Follow Measures that Work
Now more than ever is the time for us to become energized and take serious action against this virus. We know what measures work in controlling it. Most countries that have imposed mandatory masking from the start have shown marked control of the virus and some are close to the end of the pandemic. Jurisdictions that have adopted this practice later have also shown reduction in infections. However, masking must also be accompanied by social distancing, by quarantining, frequent handwashing, testing and contact tracing. All of these measures working together could lead to eventual eradication of this virus. But we have to be serious about adopting these measures. Half-hearted efforts will only keep us in a state of pandemic that not only damages the health of our people, but ravages our economies.
Taking Responsibility Now
The sooner we control this virus, the sooner we will be able to get on with our lives as usual. The longer we oppose following the simple rules that we know work, the longer we will remain in this period. It’s no use fighting against measures that commonsense and science tell us will work. It’s time that we fight against a virus that is at present an existential threat. It is time we take responsibility for doing everything in our power to end the pandemic. It is as simple as that. This is our number one responsibility for 2020.