Those who instigated the protesters by telling them they were doing the right thing seem to have overlooked the coronavirus regulations which prohibit such gatherings. The protests have endangered not just those who were beaten and robbed but also the protesters themselves.
There was no social distancing during the protests. It was only the police and army which were social distancing from the protesters during the atrocities which were being committed last Tuesday. They called this restraint.
Protesting during a pandemic is considering the fact that increased testing has revealed that the virus has been percolating in society for a long time and as many as one in every five persons may either have or will eventually be infected.
Protests can lead to a delayed surge in infections. The virus has an incubation period of up to 13 days and therefore symptoms do not always show up among protesters and in most cases the person can be infected and be spreading the disease and not knowing it. So it is possible that within the next two weeks, there can be an increase in cases resulting from the protests in West Coast Berbice.
A person’s first duty is to themselves and family. You have to protect yourself.
A pastor made a point about the highest form of government being self-government. He was referring to the ability to control one’s own actions rather that to allow raw emotions to get the better of you.
This past week, too many persons allowed themselves to be carried away by raw emotions. They allowed politicians to dictate to them what they should do even though this was not in their best interests. But that is how it has always been. The masses have always been suckers to the bidding of covetous politicians.
This, however, is no excuse for the sort of protests which we have seen over the past week. God gave all of this the power of rational thinking. Those powers were given to us to think for ourselves; not to force us to follow others blindly.
At a World Health Organization (WHO) press briefing held in August, one official remarked: “… the virus doesn’t have a brain. We’re the ones with the brains. The virus is a very simple biologic entity that can enter a human cell and instruct that cell to make more viruses which can ultimately kill the person it infects or at the very minimum transmit to another person. It’s brutal in its simplicity; it is brutal in its cruelty but it doesn’t have a brain.”
One of the panelists said in response, “So what we can do to outsmart it – and I think… there’re many, many, many things that we can do right now, with the tools that we have right now, to outsmart this virus.”
Two of the things which can be done to outsmart the virus are social distancing and wearing a mask. During a protest, social distancing is impossible. The virus thrives when we cannot practice social distance. The virus is extremely contagious. It spreads easily once you are in close contact with an infected person. And many of those infected are asymptomatic.
Yet, despite this fact people are allowing the coronavirus to outsmart them. They are not practicing social distancing. And therefore infections are going to continue to increase. It was already increasing during the period of low testing. It is now more than possible that every family in the country can be affected. The doubling rate of the virus is astonishing for such a small country but the more important metric is the reproduction rate which social distancing can do much to reduce.
Protests violate social distancing. It is a high-risk activity for the spread of the coronavirus. This is why social gatherings of more than six or 10 persons are usually outlawed during certain phases of the social restrictions.
People believe that wearing a mask during protests protects them. It does not. It protects the other person. It does not protect the persons wearing the mask and this is something that people need to understand. Yet we have had during the protests, some people wearing masks and others not. It will not be surprising if within the next week and half there is a surge in cases in Region 5 which has had very low recorded cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Political leaders must be aware of the dangers of protests and how it can contribute to the spread of the virus. Yet, they selfishly encourage protests.
But God has given each of us a brain. And it is for us to say no, we will not expose ourselves and others to the virus because regardless of what the local doctors are saying, it is not only young people who are dying.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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