Such carelessness is all the more unfortunate when it comes from people that have the privilege to stay home.

Next week, it will have been two months since my partner and I have self-isolated and closed our business waiting for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) storm to pass. My family and friends are all on the same page on the precautions we need to take, and that has primarily been social distancing. It has been boring and demotivating but is necessary.

Not everyone is following the rules though, especially since it initially seemed that the pandemic had been successfully averted.

A friend of mine ventured to a supermarket recently on one of the rare occasions she now leaves home. When she passed by a big restaurant in Bole she once frequented, she found out that there were no vacant seats available. Business was as usual.

For about two weeks, we became neglectful. Seeing the lower number of confirmed cases, prior to the much higher numbers that started to be reported in the middle of last week, we had started to assume that we were invincible.

Social media has not been helpful in this. We are only friends with people that reflect our values, prejudices and understanding of a range of subject matters. Thus, we begin to believe that the world is shaped to our perspective. The truth, however, is usually far from that; and in this case, it has made us careless toward the collective precautions we need to take to contain the spread of the virus.

Such carelessness is all the more unfortunate when it comes from people that have the privilege to stay home. This is a privilege not everyone can afford. Abusing it by going out to eat at restaurants when it is perfectly possible to do this at home is almost criminal.

A possible silver lining of this pandemic is that the rich might realise the importance of having a strong health sector. For years, many have preferred to be whisked away overseas at the first sign of illness. This is no longer possible when almost the whole world is under lockdown.

Still, the least the rich can do is stay home. It is a privilege most do not have. Going out to work for the majority of our population is a matter of survival. Videos have surfaced of congested buses and taxis with many more passengers than are allowed. These new regulations are there to protect the people’s health, but some continue to put themselves and their loved ones at risk. This is because many do not have a choice.

In fact, going out to work is something most envy at a time when the economy is facing a severe downturn.

The news is filled with stories of businesses, especially those rooted in services that are either cutting salaries of employees or temporarily closing doors and facing the possibility of declaring bankruptcy.

The pressures of our new reality cannot be understated. But beyond those that are on a noble excursion toward finding food to eat, we also have to note the high number of people that are not taking this pandemic seriously.

Some genuinely spread misinformation and are living their lives as usual. The miracle that is needed right now is people listening to reason. Being able to stay indoors as much as we can and keeping our distance is apparently harder than we all thought. It is not easy since we are social creatures, and not all of us live in homes where we can be comfortable staying in, but this is the reality at hand.

There will never be a sip of beer that will taste as good as a healthy family feels. No one today is in a place they could have predicted. But it is the responsibility of all of us to reach out to the people who are in our lives with the right information.

My friend, after being stern with his father, convinced him to temporarily close the doors of his business. It is important we use whatever type of influence we have on those around us to create change.

Young people who have access to information should make sure their relatives and family members are properly informed. This is something they will have to do repeatedly and without tiring.

PUBLISHED ON May 09,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1045]

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