THE pandemic has forced me to constantly adjust my expectations of returning to normalcy because it has been such an ongoing phenomenon. We live in these strange circumstances that we have to contend with, so that we can keep ourselves and the people around us safe from the devastating effects of COVID-19. And I understand how frustrating it is, but that doesn’t guarantee reckless and irresponsible behaviors.
Last weekend was’ New Year ‘/ Old Year’ weekend and the weekend before, there were Christmas celebrations. These are usually times for social activities – parties, religious services, and family gatherings. But this time we were supposed to reduce our involvement in these activities, keep our celebrations small and avoid spreading the virus. We were expected to do these things to stay safe and even national guidelines were in place, but we didn’t.
In line with gazetted COVID-19 guidelines, we have a curfew in place between 10:30 PM and 4:00 AM and there are litany of restrictions on social gatherings. Rum shops, bars, and such entertainment activities are nothing. But it seems like these are just words printed on a piece of paper and published in our official list for publication, because these restrictions are constantly being breached.
The massive concentrations continued and increased during the holiday season. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we have never been the people who used to use face masks and shields, and who know how deliberately we have often been sanitizing ourselves. It was reckless and irresponsible because it meant we were deliberately contributing to the spread of a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 160 Guyanese since March 2020.
This pandemic has devastated the whole world, but for the sake of ‘vibes’ or ‘good time’ we didn’t care whether it meant we were exacerbating the situation in Guyana.
The Minister for Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, said that the health sector was preparing for a large increase in the number of local cases, following the activities of the Christmas season when many people failed to keep up with the national measures.
The incubation period for the SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) is approximately 14 days and this means that we should start to see an increase in the number of people infected at any one time. Not only does this mean that more people will be infected and possibly suffering from mild to severe symptoms, but it also means that there is a greater chance that individuals who are exposed to more destructive and life-threatening effects and increased danger. Again, it was reckless and irresponsible to engage in these activities.
I remember a few months ago, when I interviewed people about their perceptions of the virus and the pandemic, they said things like, “the government isn’t doing a good job” and “the government’s gon money if enough people get sick. ”Then, towards the end of 2020, a lot of people hopped on social media and called out the” double standard “of the enforcing authorities because entities were blatantly disregarding the guidelines, while the average citizen seemed to be followed rigidly. Public officials also violated these guidelines.
For me, personal responsibility has always been paramount. Wearing my mask, frequent sanitizing, and avoiding tremors have been choices I made because I do not want to contribute to the spread of the virus. And I think it must be the same for us all. We must be deliberate about our efforts to defend against COVID-19. We cannot wait on the President, the Minister of Health, or some public official to turn some switch and immediately cure Guyana of the coronavirus. It will not happen.
We cannot continue to be irresponsible with this virus and more so now that there is news of a more transmissible variant. This is also a new virus. This means that we do not fully know the long-term effects it can have on us all. Our best and safest option is to try, as far as is reasonably possible, to protect against catching the virus and help mitigate its spread.
Continue to wear your masks, maintaining proper physical distance, frequent sanitizing and avoiding large concentrations. Protection from COVID-19 is not only for our individual safety, but also for those around us.
If anyone is exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 or needs any additional information, please kindly contact COVID-19 231-1166, 226-7480, or 624-6674 on once or visit www.health.gov.gy.
If you would like to discuss this column or any of my previous writings, please feel free to contact me by email: [email protected]