The corona virus has brought global life to a near standstill – Disney is out of magic, Paris is no longer romantic, New York doesn’t stand up anymore, The Chinese wall is no longer a fortress and Mecca is empty. Businesses and schools are closed. There are shortages of basic necessities, panic is being provoked amongst people, large gatherings have been cancelled (such as religious events, weddings, sports events, concerts), travelling is restricted, curfews are placed and it is obligatory for every individual to remain at home. These advisories are unfortunate but necessary and requisite actions that must be followed in order to battle this widespread plague and rid the grave consequences that is occurring.
According to World Health Organization/ Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), COVID-19 has affected 206 countries and territories around the globe, attacking over a million people and causing approximately more than 60,000 deaths and counting. The world is left with self-isolation, a blunt tactic to slow the virus, potentially sparing the hospitals from catastrophic overloads of patients.
While it is natural to panic, do not allow fear to limit our attempts to battle this virus. Fear suppresses immune function by triggering stress hormones which will increase susceptibility of viruses to attack our bodies. Therefore, precautions must be taken – stay indoors, do not be in close contact with anyone as this virus is so distinctive individuals does not know if they are infected until late stages – when it has attacked or is attacking the lungs. Wash your hands with soap frequently, practice effective waste disposal, disinfect homes daily and be cautious when handling currency. Ensure you are having sufficient rest, practice personal cleanliness, maintain healthy diets by replacing fast-foods with foods containing vital minerals and nutrients that strengthen the body. Replace panic with reason and strengthen your immune system with enhancers such as Vitamin C, Zinc supplements, fever grass, black seed oil, honey, and citric fruits.
It is very important to note that people with underlying conditions are at very high risks of suffering from critical conditions or even death, if infected by this virus. These individuals have very weak immune systems which increase their chance of becoming susceptible to this life-threatening illness. It is vital that such individuals, especially those suffering from Rett Syndrome, Autism and other disabilities, are safe, sheltered and offered support if necessary. Parents and family members must make it their primary duty to ensure safety and health measures are in place for themselves and loved ones. They should remain indoors and if deemed necessary to leave, they must make sure to dress with the protective wear (gloves, masks).
When individuals are trapped and silenced by a disability, they have no means of communicating their feelings, which makes it very difficult for this virus to be detected and before any treatment can be taken, it may be too late. It is therefore the responsibility of the Ministry of Health to share mitigation tips and protective measures for not only non-disabled individuals, but also older folks, pregnant mothers, children, disabled people, asthmatic patients and HIV/AIDS infected individuals. Not forgetting, people with psychological/mental disabilities, may be in particular distress due to this pandemic. The Government of Guyana should ensure that mental-health support services, personal assistance and physical and communication accessibility are in place for everyone. Guyana’s government should advise and instruct people that this virus is not to be taken lightly and jokingly. If the population is not concerned, we will have a repeat of events of previous plagues that happened in other countries, where the streets were flooded with dead bodies and the burial grounds were filled. Considering our current state of economy, we may never recover after losing hundreds or even thousands of our population. Guyana can never survive such a death-dealing virus, especially with the lack of treatment for infected persons as well as, how carelessly and naively we are taking such a serious issue. Even though our elections period has not concluded, the Government should channel its focus on the safety of our people and urge every Guyanese to stay away from crowds and gatherings. They should reassure the nation that their safety comes first and the only way to rid this catastrophe is self-isolation and social distancing. Additionally, just as shirts and flags were widely distributed during campaigning periods, they should ensure that basic necessities, hand sanitizers, masks, medications and foods are distributed to the less fortunate. As a current administration of Guyana, they should ensure that better treatments for COVID-19 patients are in place in order to safe-guard the lives of our people.
Many governments around the world have found that the best way to prevent and reduce cases of this virus is not only to implement curfews but to order total lock-downs, where people are only allowed to leave for food, household items or medications. Such democratic governments are making it their institutional duty to protect their citizens so that people with serious illnesses can seek medical care, and infectious persons wouldn’t pass it on. While Guyana may not be ‘a light switch’ that can easily be shut on or off, ceasing most human contact is the only way to eliminate this virus and to keep the population safe. It may be extreme and nearly impossible, but desperate times calls for desperate measures.
One of the most important things governments can do to protect people during pandemics or crisis, is to consult with them regularly to make sure policies meets their needs, for, transparent governments are essential. We, as Guyanese, should isolate ourselves and maintain social distancing. We can all sacrifice shopping sprees, salon and spa days, clubbing/partying, travelling and social mixing for the health of ourselves and others.
No one knows when life will be unfrozen or when we will be able to walk the streets without masks/gloves and relief ourselves from the fear of someone sneezing or coughing around us. We must try as hard as possible to stay safe and pray, as prevention and prayer is powerful. There will come a time when all of this will be a distant memory. There will be a ‘corona baby-boom’…, and there will be a rise of businesses because all the entrepreneurs had a moment of stillness to muster their creativity and innovation. We will remember when we were given the opportunity to spend quality time with our families and loved ones because time stopped for us. We will remember the time our health was our first priority and we will learn from that experience. Since we had no other means of coming together, we will remember the laughs and memorable moments we shared on social media. We will remember a time we took for granted the true heroes – doctors, nurses, attendants and ambulance crews, and how we have come to respect them. We will remember how we aided in the termination of the virus because we stayed at home. We will remember how we created a global community and we gave our earth a break causing a decrease in climate change. We will remember that there was a global rise in solidarity and while the streets were quiet, our homes were filled with love and laughter. Although the situation is serious, we must focus on the silver lining, we are all in this together and after hardship comes ease.
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