It is with morbid curiosity that I have been watching the developments around the Corona Virus since early January 2020. From the get-go there was something about this virus that made me keep an eye on it. As it turns out, Covid-19 will go down in history as something that united the world, for now at least.
When we first learned of the virus, it was “the black sheep of the family” – like domestic violence, sexual abuse, your best friend’s narcissistic husband – something that happened “over there, to other people”. As it started to spread outside of Wuhan, people took notice and it became the thing you talk about at the water station with colleagues. Soon it was the main topic of discussion, but still not something that will ever happen to us. Even as the first case was diagnosed on home soil on 5 March 2020 people were joking about “whether you have washed your hands”.
5 March – that is just 19 days ago.
16 March – the count is now at 72 and President Ramaphosa urges people to take care
22 March – 274 is now infected – that is 202 people in less than a week. But then…..
23 March – the number of infections jumps to 402 and between day 17 and 18 the number of positive cases jumped by 45%
24 March – 554 infections, 4 recovered and 2 in ICU.
In 19 days it took us from joking about something “over there” to 21 days of lockdown. 19 days for it to jump from 1 to 402. I expect that the number of infected people is actually much higher as it takes about 3 days for a positive diagnosis to come back. If the current rate of infection continues, I am afraid we may exceed 1 500 by this weekend. We still have 3 full days of work and shopping and prepping for lockdown (read: contact with others that may be affected) before we go into lockdown. It is very scary indeed.
Since this is a developing story (not the time for jokes, I know, but I’ve always wanted to say that) and there is too much to say on the topic for one post, for this one I will focus on why it is one of the biggest unifying events to occur in the world during my lifetime.
For the first time in South Africa’s history, that I know of, everyone is united against a common thread. I find it amazing that this tiny little unseen virus has the ability to bring together all races, all religious organizations and all political parties to stand as a united front and fight this thing. Not even Nelson Mandela or the Springboks ever had the ability to unite us like this. I am proud President Ramaphosa and I am proud of my country for the way they have come together to fight this unseen speck that has the power to grind us and the rest of the world to a halt.
Last night our President announced that we will go into lock down midnight on 26 March 2020 until midnight on 16 April 2020, This could not have been an easy decision, and it certainly is one that I am glad I did not have to make. Millions and millions of people will be affected by this. Business will be forced to shut their doors for good, the job losses and economic impact will be massive. It is something that will take a very long time to remedy. Despite all of this, I believe it to be right move, the only move. The economy and the coins in my pocket can never be more important than the value of a single human life.
Governments, organizations, companies, individuals, political parties, different religious groups, millionaires and billionaires – all are rallying to fight this unseen enemy. This invisible threat that is ripping apart families and forever changing lives has caused more unity than anything I have ever seen before.
All of a sudden you see groups of people pop up making donations, looking beyond the “glory” of “I did something good”. Parents are forced to spend time with their children as the schools are closed. The elderly are being looked after by strangers who are concerned for the health of the aged and husbands and wives have nowhere to go but spend time with each other – there are no pubs to go to or golf games to be played. We are forced to slow down and take stock of what matters. Nations are praying for each other and helping out where they can. Unemployed doctors and nurses come in from all the corners of the world to offer their services.
All across the globe, things are slowing down and resetting for one common goal – let’s beat this!
Corona will not touch me or my family, but I’ve had my scare (more on that in the next post)
As we approach lock down and we get everything in place to make sure that we won’t have to pop out to the shop, I stand in awe at the unity this virus has brought. I stand in awe at how resilient we are. I stand in awe at how we can pull together – regardless of social standing or race. Together we can beat this!