You don’t need opinions right now. Not from me, and not from anyone who isn’t a qualified healthcare worker treating you for a medical condition. Right now you need to know the facts as they change and how those changes impact your life.
If you’re in South Africa, you’re on lockdown with about two billion other people around the world. Last weekend that number peaked at three billion. Over 40 percent of the world’s population were encouraged/forced to stay indoors, at home because of COVID-19.
Is it an overreaction? I hope so. I hope that we have done/are doing enough to buy our healthcare system enough time to ready itself for the worst of it. South Africa has been very fortunate. We acted swiftly, seemingly contained the spread by activating the biggest weapon in our arsenal.
We have nothing left after lockdown. Our load is spent.
Economically we cannot afford for this attempt at flattening the outbreak curve to not work. The Moody’s downgrade was always going to happen. Investors were always going to flee to bigger economies to make some form of return after the market crash. The rest of the world was always going to shutdown, we would’ve inevitably had to close our borders. People were going to lose jobs, businesses were going to close, and people will die no matter what we do.
This is a global pandemic that is choking the life out of the world as we know it. Italy, Spain and the United States of America are shining examples of how bad it can get. We don’t know what happens in China because that government has been lying to the world from the very beginning.
South Korea got lucky. All those mothballed Sars countermeasures really came in handy, as did having a well-connected society that’s technologically advanced enough to transact with the government via mobile phones. South Africa’s unemployment rate was creeping up to one-in-three before March 2020.
But what about herd immunity and The Netherlands? Herd immunity only works when there’s a vaccine. But vocabulary aside, it will be an interesting case study in the future. I hope they’re lucky enough to not go the Spanish way. Again, it’s a different country with different societal challenges.
There are no universal answers right now. We’ll know the outcome of antiviral trials in a couple of weeks. We should start seeing improvements in Italian infections and mortalities in the next week, with Spain following a week after and the US, hopefully by the end of our lockdown.
Maybe we’ll feel slighted by our government’s heavy-handed approach when the thousands of predicted intensive care cases don’t emerge in the coming weeks, and that will be the best possible outcome. Something had to be done. We needed a strategy and I, for one, am happy to know that our government is at least competent enough to have chosen a path through this valley of uncertainty.
Stay home. Stay safe. See you on the other side.