By Dr Zulfikar Bux
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
I live in fear daily knowing the possible consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak in Guyana. While my understanding is boosted by being a doctor, there are many Guyanese who do not understand this disease and continue to be insensitive to this potential disaster for our country.
It pains me to see how most are going about their lives not knowing the dangers that lie ahead. We have not experienced such a devastation in our lifetime, and it has just started. My goal today, is to remind you of your importance in combating this disease, and urge that you encourage others to do the same.
WHY STAY AT HOME?
This virus needs us more than we know—It needs us to survive, spread and multiply. When we go out, we risk coming into contact with the virus and helping it to continue its destruction. If we all stay at home, the virus will be slowly eliminated in a couple of months. We need to beat this virus by avoiding it. The best way to do that as of now, is to stay at home.
WHY WEAR A MASK?
There are responsible citizens that are donning their masks when they are out in the public domain. As I said previously, this virus has to spread from person to person to survive. It spreads from an infected person mainly through their mouth and nostrils. If we all wear a mask that covers our mouth and nose when we go out for necessity, the virus cannot come out if we are infected. If the virus cannot come out, it cannot spread.
THE CORONAVIRUS WILL COME AND GO LIKE OTHER OUTBREAKS IN GUYANA
We have experienced outbreaks before in Guyana. Most recently, we had the Zika and Chikungunya outbreaks that spread throughout the country. Some say that this is just another outbreak and we will survive it like we did with others. This virus is different, it is more easily spread, stays longer and kills more. If we are extremely negligent with preventative measures, this virus has the potential to kill thousands of Guyanese. It will not go away as fast as others did until we have a vaccine. A vaccine against COVID-19 can take up to 18 months. During this time, the virus can continue to devastate us, unless we get strict with preventative measures.
IT’S BEST I GET THE VIRUS AND GET OVER WITH IT
This is what I have been hearing from some who do not really know the seriousness of this infection. The world is still baffled by this infection. This virus is playing games with us and is winning so far. We have not been able to come up with a definitive treatment plan that can guarantee good outcomes for those infected with the virus.
There is no way to predict who will and will not survive the infection at this point. It has a way of beating you down to submission; some get sicker and weaker by the day and make it through, while others are not so fortunate. For those that die from the infection, it’s a slow, suffocating and lonely death. They are in isolation and cannot get to see their loved ones as they slowly die. The best way to describe the suffocation, is similar to someone drowning slowly for hours to days. As a doctor, I’m scared of it. and you should be too.
I’m am pleading with you all to help yourself, your loved ones, and help us, the healthcare workers. We depend on you so much with this disease. We are fearful for our safety and that of our families. Yet, we still go to work knowing that you need us.
Today I’m telling you that we need you more. Please, stay at home, wear your mask and practice good hygiene. If you do this and you do it well, we can win this and win it together. Save yourself, save the health workers and save Guyana!
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