Opinion | Matshepo Maseko
The reality of the severity of Covid-19 for many people in our country has not yet set in. With the lockdown well underway, there are still people filling the streets in some communities moving about to get whatever they ‘need’ at the stores, not giving much regard to this pandemic. In the instance of unseen danger, some ignorantly put their lives at risk without even knowing it, unnecessarily breaking the regulations brought about by the government and not staying at home.
The Covid-19 has sent shockwaves to people and has brought much confusion and uncertainty. With there being only a limited amount of information concerning this despicable virus, some people are coming up with ridiculous summations on what it actually is and who it can affect. One such example is the idea that the virus only affects a certain race and not the other. Other even more inconceivable ideas include there being a ‘cure’ for this coronavirus in the form of boiled orange peels that you have to then steam, and another being a lemon and baking soda mix to prevent getting the virus altogether.
Now, while it is obvious that these are false and borderline stupid ideas, it is important to note that in times of much panic and fear, people will fall victim to these lies in an attempt to protect themselves from this unknown threat. In a time like this, the mind seems to be pulling at straws to make sense of what has happened and continues to happen all around the world. Suddenly the most ordinary human nuances and acts of decency and affection are unsafe and worse, forbidden. Instead strange elbow and foot greetings have become the new norm and social distancing is absolutely necessary. This virus has brought so much change to the lives of people, even to the extent of altering our most instinctive human behaviours.
It is hard to imagine that an invisible thing could cause so much destruction unless of course, that thing is a mysterious and deadly disease-causing virus. Ignorance can never ever be bliss. Ignorance may well be a pronounced death sentence without sounding exaggerated. Experts are saying “do this that way” and “do that this way” and meanwhile coronavirus cases and deaths are increasing quite steadily. Some experts have said that 60% of people in South Africa will be infected with the virus by the time all has been said and done. It is not even known when all will be said and done, and the only certainty is this: The virus is yet to reach its peak. That could mean a number of things, but one outstanding idea is that nothing will be the same again and ours will be a generation of people marked by the coronavirus.
Our lives, as we know it, have indeed been so remarkably changed. Things that were deemed remarkable in a postmodern and self-sufficient world are now the most unremarkable. It no longer matters how much money you have or how high you are in your social standing or even in your ambition; what matters now is the very breath in your lungs (pun intended) and in that of those around you.
Everyone now has a moral obligation to think seriously about their well-being as well as the well-being of the next person in a world where loving your neighbour as yourself would be a hard concept to grasp. Our heroes are no longer celebrities lavishly showing off their riches and fancy living, but rather ordinary, everyday people who are risking their very lives daily to save lives and serve people. It would seem that the coronavirus with all its dilemma has brought with it an enormous lesson on the priority and importance of human life on all scales. Perhaps there is not a better time for the human race to revisit its values and principles to bring into question what matters most.
Featured image from Google via pixabay.com.