Excitement is growing around a possible “My fellow South Africans …” because there is hope that it will be accompanied by a “we are moving to Level 2 of Lockdown”. That change would theoretically take place when the new month rolls around, so 1 September.
The hope is that Level 2 will be accompanied by a removal of the curfew, opening of bars and restaurants and a return to the sale of alcohol and tobacco. There’s something else that is going to happen as well, COVID infection numbers are going to spike.
Leisure and entertainment, like the tourism industry, have been hemorrhaging since the start of lockdown at the end of March – and the South African government have done nothing to cover themselves in glory in dealing with this pandemic. From a hopeful start, it has been an express elevator to the sub, sub, sub-basement of delinquency. This has obviously resulted in people doing whatever they can to survive with little to no official help. Communities have stepped up to fill the gaps.
There’s a thirst for something stronger than soda, a need to puff something more than hot air and a desire for company. During a pandemic the combination of these things can have a distinctly undesirable outcome – more so because socialising has been off the table since the end of March, nearly five months ago.
The latest from New Zealand is that, after more than 100 days of no infections, they have a spike in cases and have put parts of country into lockdown. New Zealand is one of the headline countries for comprehensively and responsibly addressing the pandemic. For them to be in this situation is indicative of just how aggressive the virus is and how easily things can go wrong.
Recent reports in the Western Cape speak of temporary hospitals being dismantled so they can be moved to the Eastern Cape. There is talk about the virus having peaked, or being close to the peak – but infection rates and population rates are nowhere near in sync. I’m not sure how the viral infection can peak when only a fraction of the population has been infected and we are no closer to a definitive treatment or prevention of the infection.
More “peaks” to be expected then in the coming months, despite the change in lockdown level and the relaxing of restrictions. It is inevitable and that’s all there is to it.
What you need to remember, and deal with, right now is avoiding infection because lighter government restrictions allow greater social interaction and that increases your risk. We’re all tired of going through this and dealing with sanitising and masks and avoiding gatherings and all the complication that goes with it, but a casual attitude is what will come back to bite at this point.
There is greater responsibility on you as there is less responsibility on government. Remember also that the greatest risk is being carried by the healthworkers and we’ve had the tragic passing of a number of the healthcare community. As, and when, infection rates spike again we will need more qualified health personnel, not less. No-one else is going to get you through it. By staying healthy you are protecting them, so keep doing that.
On a final note, if you want to use the internet to learn something new – or to while away the time with a positive result, then log on to Mental Floss and find information on a staggering variety of topics. Popular right now are articles like “10 Tips for Avoiding Germs on Flights”, “10 Fascinating Facts about Davy Crockett” and “14 Black Authors you should Read Right Now”. There’s much much more on the site and the incautious might find their days slipping away when visiting.