COVID-19’s stormy eyes

THE meme circulating on social media of two worms in the safe precincts of their hole discussing Government’s relaxing of restrictions on bars, churches and social gatherings, only to see a massive bird called COVID-19 perched on the outside, unbeknownst to them.

The avian creature patiently awaits the couple to worm their way to the top. The illustration appears simple, but lurking beneath is a profound message of what may befall us as we seek to have normality restored.

Are you in a rush? Beware, it might just be the eye of COVID-19.

The stormy eye of the virus

COVID-19 has taken us by storm. Jamaica has seen figures spike by the day to then have no one tested positive for the virus. Recall, though, that as soon as we thought this viral storm was dying down, more cases emerged on and off. In effect, we got a respite comparable to the eye of a storm. We may be yet to see the tail end of it.

The US last Tuesday reported more than 21,000 new cases as states lifted restrictions and crowds gathered to protest George Floyd’s death. Furthermore, our minister of health stated last week that we should brace for a spike in cases as borders open this month, confessing that, even with testing, the virus is still likely to spread, given a margin of error that depends on when the virus would have been picked up by the person and the length of time it is with an individual for it to show.

Figures, then, are an approximation

It is said that figures never lie. There is some truth in this. Consider the following: The number of people that test positive for the new coronavirus is a reasonably credible figure. But, these figures are an approximation and rarely capture the full truth of what is on the ground.

In other words, testing positive does not mean that others are not also positive, especially given the unpredictable nature of this virus. Be wary, then, of the notion that no new cases means no new cases.

Another sobering meme

“The end of stay-at-home orders doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. It means they currently have room for you in the ICU”, is another meme making the rounds on social media.

This thought, though chilling, is sobering.

The shocking reality is, as more individuals are reported as getting better, with relatively fewer cases of contractions, the ICUs that once housed some are sadly available to house more. Staying at home is always better than staying in the ICU.

To whom much is given…

To whom much is given much is demanded. The Government’s relaxing of restrictions can have serious consequences for individuals with a willy-nilly approach to them. The great lockdown, arguably, has taken a psychological toll on our people, dying for stay-at-home orders to be lifted.

Now it’s here. The Government’s easing of restrictions, however, should be interpreted as placing even greater responsibility on us than before. Why is this so? As we move or gather around with more people inside and entering our borders, this should now instil in us the need to be more conscious of social distancing, mask wearing and paying greater attention to hygiene and sanitising practices

As the storm blows over, there is no wriggle room for error in judgement amid a powerful and clever virus. Where possible, still stay home. Needlessly and carelessly worming one’s way out of one’s hole may find us being picked up by COVID-19, a storm that may be far from over.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

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