During the 14th century in Europe the most devastating global disease outbreak took place. With a fatality rate of up to 50% and an infection rate only comparable to wild fire, the Bubonic plague was one of the most deadly pathogens humanity has ever experienced. The estimated death toll was around 25 million people. This was during a time when at most the human population was a few hundred million at most. At least we are not currently experiencing something as devastating as the Black Death. On another note however, yes we are living in unpredictable and turbulent times. While Covid may not be as deadly as the Bubonic Plague however it is vital that we continue to be cautious and reduce the chances of infection as much as possible. We are all under stress living in South Africa to one degree or another and the pandemic is making life exceptionally more difficult for many. This being said, right now one of the most important things for you is to keep healthy. So below are 10 ways to keep safe during covid times in South Africa. These are designed specifically for South African’s to follow to help flatten the curve.
I know, right now its very tempting to lose our collective minds and start freaking out. We have seen what this does when we get to the shop and there is no toilet paper because someone has brought all of it to scalp single sheets. Remember the old saying “this too shall pass”. Keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel because things will get better. Things are bad now and we are all unsure but the worst thing is to panic, it doesn’t benefit yourself or those around you and can impact your mental health and wellbeing. I know its easy to say this without knowing people’s individual state of mind but there are ways to deal with frustration in a productive way.
We all do it. Skim a headline on Facebook or Twitter and it might as well be fact right? Wrong! I mean obviously some information is just blatinently untrue like “micro chips forcing people to eat bars of soap”, is ridiculous and frankly comical. The real danger is the untrue masqueraded as fact. It is easy to see an article from a fringe site that is using proper citing and proper grammar as gospel. We know what “Fake News” is because its a buzz word but it goes beyond misinformation to malevolent deception. Don’t listen to the Whatsapp you got forwarded to a group telling you to not get medial treatment because there is fluoride in the medication. Nearly all the time it is total nonsense. For all Covid related medical treatment there are places to visit to get the best genuine information. Including the World Health Organization for the latest in Covid related news. The information might not be directed at South African’s in particular however it has the best overall information on the best pandemic related practices.
The one thing that we all need to do more is be precautious. That means not panicking as the first step suggests but rather being cautious in our daily lives. This means that if you think “that’s not very Covid friendly”, then it probably isn’t. If your local gym finally opens up the sauna and you have the opportunity to sit next to a bunch of sweaty panting people, maybe reconsider. We all need to take a step back from situations that might require a little more forethought. Don’t go to the shops when its at its busiest, rather go during times where there are less people like mid morning rather then after work. Taking time to think and plan your daily movements can mean the difference between getting and avoiding infection. There is usually a safer way of doing things.
Before you say anything yes at this point its almost a cliché to be told to “keep isolating”. We need to work and earn to stay alive, what’s the point of avoiding the pandemic if you starve? Well we need to continue our daily lives and South Africa is going through a recession due to the pandemic (Mathe, 2020) which is impacting it. Many people have lost their jobs and the necessity to go out and earn a living is making it difficult to stay home and those of us that can stay home to work are few in this country. The best way to self isolate is to minimize maximum exposure. By this I mean don’t go out of your way to expose yourself to possibly getting infected. You can still go to restaurants, the gym or hiking as long as you keep yourself as safe as possible from the virus. When you finally go out to that bar you’ve been dying to go to, refrain from open mouth kissing random strangers. Keep on living your life but make yourself a social bubble that shall not be penitrated.
Currently you are still more likely to get Covid from someone you know who you have regular contact with then from strangers. This is because we tend to let our guard down with people we are familiar with. I don’t mean alienate those close to you and become a paranoid mountain person. Keep on interacting with people but try to maintain a sense of caution. Many of us want to interreact with those we love as much as possible because we are worried we might lose them to the pandemic or because we have become lonely in our isolated existence. It is still important to maintain these bonds to help our mental stress as well as those around us however it is important to keep at a safe proximity.
The world hasn’t stopped and the same goes for South Africa. There are new events and developments happening all around us and its important to keep up to date. Keep up by using trusted sources such as News 24 to remind you that the world hasn’t ended.
There are 2 types of lock down bodies, the mushy potato and the firm shredded carrot. Take the time to think of your health by eating well and doing regular exercise. Its not an excuse right now to let yourself go. A healthy body means there is less chance for the virus to cause harm.
No one can try to drill this in enough. Keeping your hands free of germs is vital in reducing the spread of Covid 19. I know once again its almost redundant to tell people to wash their hands because its been drilled into them but the BBC (Gorvett, 2020) reported that people globally are not washing their hands as much as when the pandemic started. People! This is not cool! You need to still be washing your hands. You touch things, get bacteria on your hands then touch you face. That is how Covid spreads! I have seen people pretend to put disinfectant on their hands before entering a shop. That’s ridiculous! If the virus was playing Plague Inc it would be on easy mode at this point. Please! just wash your hands and use sanitizer. It doesn’t take too much time or effect and the effects are vital to flattening the curb.
Again, I really don’t feel like I should have to telling people to wear masks in public spaces. There are a lot of videos on social media of people shouting at the top of their lungs about “freedom” and what ever into the faces of minimum wage works to contradict what should be the minimum requirement for everyone during the pandemic. Its a piece of cloth but its usefulness against the plague has been researched and proven (Bai, 2021). It once again goes back to the point of misinformation. People will go out of their way to find supporting arguments for what they believe in even if it dose not hold water. You don’t have to be called out like them however just by wearing a mask. You don’t have to end up on one of those “Darwin Awards” compilations on Youtube.
The 10 ways to keep safe during Covid times in South Africa is above anything a reassurance. We all feel helpless sometimes at the moment with regards to the macro events happening around us. It is important to continue doing whatever you can to contribute to the greater good like social distancing and wearing a mask. It is also important for you to not disregard your own health both physical and mental. We are in in this together in different ways and some people are in better positions then others. Its important to continue to keep looking forward with the knowledge that this too shall pass. There is still a lot of hardship to go through and it may not be over any time soon but its important to know that there are millions of people experiencing the same thing as you.