COVID-19: Fighting the Pandemic

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Overview

As pandemics go, death and dying abound. The loss of lives is only one aspect that gets focus.

Economic life is also lost. Devastation lingers and recovery often takes time. While authorities focus on big budgets, the often necessary tools needed to fight a disease that causes pandemics are often overlooked. Pandemics do not need to lay the population and landscape desolate. Lots can be achieved with simple, accessible and less than billion dollar budgets.

In late 2019, a severe acute respiratory syndrome linked to coronavirus began to be reported in the media originating out of China. By March 2020, the World health organization (WHO) announced and designated the disease a global pandemic, tagged Covid-19 (SARS-COV2).

Currently, there is now 102,584,351 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,222,647 deaths, reported to WHO.

Measures were put in place to “fight” the pandemic. Lockdown of whole cities and countries with citizens told to stay indoors, restricted movement, social distancing, limited gatherings, schools shut, air travel shut, the admonition by authorities that citizens wear masks, sanitize and wash hands frequently, avoid handshakes and hugs. The government built isolation centres overnight, hospitals were extended, ventilators procured, sports centres repurposed to makeshift clinics as hospitals ran out of beds.

Despite these measures, the number of confirmed cases and death continue to rise. Why?

Findings.

Through poring and analyzing media reports, taking opinions from sample populations and empirical observations and interactions with patients and visitors at a clinic, we find that 9 out of 10 do not know what the Sar-cov2 is, where it resides, how it may be contacted, and why they should wear masks. In one instance, a person with some level of education when asked “why do you wear masks?” responded “because of the police !” Because the government had instituted stiff punishment and fines against those not wearing masks, many only do so because they are afraid of these punitive measures and fines.

When they feel unwatched, or out of reach of the authorities, they throw caution to the wind.

Many wear masks but do not hesitate to stick their fingers in their mouth, whence they inebriate their fingers with copious saliva, and then touch surfaces, shake hands with other people unconsciously… so what is the point? Some put the mask on their necks, some cover their mouth but not their nose.

Current policy

As previously stated, certain measures have been adopted by many governments in an effort to curb the pandemic.

  • Mask wearing in public places.
  • Testing, contact tracing.
  • Hand washing and sanitization
  • Social distancing
  • Lockdown
  • Vaccinations.
  • Some have banned the sale of alcohol
  • Restricted gathering
  • Restricted travels etc

So far, with the number of confirmed cases of those infected with the virus rising and death numbers continue to climb, the virus mutating into more virulent forms and vaccine appear to be infective. The question arises, what can be done?

Policy recommendations.

Education.

There is a lot of information flying around, but very little education. A full year into a pandemic, the large percentage of citizens in many countries even those with high levels of adult education do not know basic things about what the pandemic is and how to protect themselves and their loves ones. This is a failure of the agency of government. Most have instilled fear but failed to educate the public.

Fear does not make people take responsibility for themselves, it makes them want to rebel, to avoid following rules… when people flout rules, the consequences can be life-altering and in this instance surge in infection rates.

The government should be educating the public, not just passing information such as “there is a pandemic, we have to fight this virus” citizens should be told what the virus is, where it resides when it makes contact with the body, why it is necessary to avoid droplet /saliva propagation, why masks are necessary etc.

Of masks.

Governments and authorities everywhere have been shouting the mantra “wear masks!” but, they have failed to

Tell the people what TYPE of masks to wear and

They have failed to PROVIDE THE RIGHT ones.

Surgical masks are only about 55% effective in filtering away infectious pathogens such viruses. Over 90% of the populations are wearing cloth masks which are only about 3% effective.

Again. In a 2015 study published in the British medical journal, it was reported that wearing cloth masks made people more susceptible to attracting infections pathogens. Seems therefore that government is complicit in the deaths of their citizens by not telling the people the right masks to wear and not providing the same. At a fraction of the costs being spent to lobby and pay for vaccines, it was possible for authorities to set up surgical or N95 mask-making factories in tier countries for the distribution to the health care workers and citizens.

As a matter of policy, every citizen should be getting a box of 10 n95 makes per month (2 per week). It is criminally scandalous, that politicians who occasionally give free face caps and t-shirts and food items during electioneering campaigns have not thought it wise or prudent to give $1 surgical lifesaving masks to the electorate they claim to so love during election periods.

Conclusion.

The pandemic is surging. There is a flurry of efforts, some misdirected. While the economic loss due to pandemic can run into trillions of dollars, it does not take trillions to fight it. It takes education. People must be taught to know why. And the right basic tools must be engaged to curb the surge.

By Joel J. Osakue.

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