The news from most places is not encouraging, most alarming, definitely upheaving. Spain and Italy in Europe, New York and California in the United States, and many other places and states in between are under virtual lockdown because of the coronavirus scourge. Once crowded and bustling metropolises have been transformed into wildernesses lacking in people, commerce, and gaiety. It’s as if the life has been sucked out of the centres of modern civilization.
It is no different in this region, though the scale of the outbreak is still muted. May it stay so, though our neighbours in Trinidad and Tobago have reported, as of Sunday, forty new cases of the virus. Numerous other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America have been affected.
Amidst this unending onslaught of disturbing developments from near and far, impacting in one way or another most of the world, where are our Guyanese citizens at this most challenging of times? Where are they when they learn through emails and WhatsApp about the restrictions placed on family and friends and the tolls that those are taking?
Somehow, it is our sense at this paper that many citizens are not treating the presence of this still unmanaged and, in many instances, unmeasured plague, with the urgency and priority that it demands. Our thinking is that too many in Guyana are not responding to this global viral assault, with the good sense and good conduct that are immediately required at the individual level.
Family and community do not deserve this: the possible accidental exposure which has the potential to infect and spread. If there is one thing for which the authorities should be commended, it is the flow of information across many channels and on a near continuous basis. They have done their part in this regard, with the rest up to us, and with the expectation that each citizen will commit to do his or her part and then do so. At this stage, very few could claim ignorance of what is involved, and of where things could lead, given the high risks, the uncontainable nature of this COVID-19 enemy.
In spite of all of this, too many citizens have reacted with what may only be accurately described as nonchalance, even dismissal. Of course, to repeat the unnecessary, it is widely known and seen and heard of those who throw caution to the wind and challenge the devil in his own lair. That is a loser’s hand. The problem is that those in the vicinity pay the consequences, which could be endless, as this raging sorcerer’s brew of a sickness knows no limits, no heights, no exceptions. Just look at some of those sickened, and the places that it has invaded.
Our citizens in this fragile domain have to be more responsible, more in charge of their movements, more cognizant of what they have to do and give at this time. As sacrilegious as this sound at this time in Guyana, elections must be consigned to a lower scale of personal priority. We say this not to dilute the intensity of anyone’s support for their choice, but to offer what we believe is the ordinary wisdom that the advancing circumstances call for, and which all of us must deliver, and deliver starting right now.
The first order of precaution is the self-protection of distancing from gatherings. Since this has been largely disseminated and very familiar, it flies in the face of all that is rational that there are those who congregate unwisely and, hence, render themselves vulnerable to infection and then becoming an unwitting carrier. We have to do more; we must do more if only for family and community.
This is shared because if the proper measures are taken, then the degree of containment that is so vital can be had, with the safety and wellbeing of loved ones almost assured, and the larger environment also reaping the shared benefits for which we yearn.
As we tighten our belts, there is another matter to be avoided at all costs: we urge not to descend into the depths and point fingers at any group as having or carrying what hurts. All are diminished by such vulgar senselessness.
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