Surprise, Surprise, COVID-19 Still Around

Nov 14 , 2020

He was married with two children. At the time of his death, his wife and kids were at their grandmother's house. The day before the burial, mourners learned that the man died of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). He did not exhibit any symptoms initially but was later admitted to a hospital where he learned that he had the virus and was placed in quarantine.A neighbour died in my neighbourhood recently. He was a kind man who was loved and respected by many. He often greeted people with a big smile on his face and shared a ride with his neighbours.

Neighbours who came to the man's house to pay their respects were shocked to learn he died of COVID-19. Even some seemed to regret showing up for fear of catching the virus. But suddenly, one of the neighbours mentioned that he had a little while ago tested positive for the virus but that he had quarantined and is cured now.

When a person gets admitted to a quarantine centre, the right thing to do seems to be to inform their immediate neighbours to keep their distance or at least isolate themselves for a while. In the same token, the man who passed also knew he had the virus three days ago but did not tell anyone in the neighbourhood.

How insensitive can one be not to say anything to their neighbours and wait until someone dies or is out of quarantine to bring up the topic? Were these people afraid of discrimination? Or did they want to take everyone down with them?

On the other side, there are people who are extra careful in dealing with the epidemic, who even go to the extent of quarantining themselves if they fear they have possible contact with a person who is affected. These people avoid meeting others and all sorts of social interactions. They should be applauded.

But it is, admittedly, not easy to do. Imagine, for instance, a person that is trying to keep themselves safe from the virus while also being a public transport user.

Vehicles for public transportation are already giving service at their full capacity. I recently had to take a bus to escape a long line for minibuses. It was unnervingly crowded.

“Did we forget about COVID-19, and why are people getting on a bus when it is this packed?” I mumbled under my voice, talking in true hypocrite fashion.

There was a reason why all of us were on that bus. There was no taxi, and it was getting dark. I only realised what a mistake getting on that bus was after it started moving and it was too late to get off. I am sure many others shared my concern, but they were too tired to do anything about it. We were resigned to our fate.

Regardless of the open windows, there was no room to keep two metres away from anyone. Although all of us were wearing face masks, some of us stood clenching the steel handlebars and sat face to face. As the road was long and the traffic jammed, we remained in that position for an extended period.

Although we do not talk about it as much as we used to, the disease is spreading, and it does not take a miracle to understand why. Just last week, the number of confirmed cases passed 100,000. In such circumstances, it seems imprudent to begin sending children to schools or that some students are already going.

Expectedly, these schools are having a hard time adjusting. At a school where a relative of mine is teaching, it is already causing headaches. Teachers are not allowed to touch students in any way. They are not allowed to check or mark students' exercise books, give them an extra pen or pencils, feed them or even comfort them when they cry, however old they are. The children are discouraged from playing with one another as well, which is going to be difficult as they are used to it.

This is the social consequence of COVID-19, and the less careful and responsible we are, the worse it is going to get. It is incumbent upon everyone to remember that, despite all the distracting events currently taking place, there is still an outbreak raging.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1072]

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