There are a dozen people fighting for their lives on ventilators right now. I know this because I saw them. The ICU patients in the COVID-19 ward I was in don’t care about whether the beaches are open or not. Their doctors and healthcare workers are not referencing the “r” values on all those clever graphs, either.
A week ago I was being pumped full of dexamethasone because my immune system chose my Asthma-affected lungs as the battleground in its war against Covid over the preceding nine days. Pneumonia settled in my airways from the scavenging bacteria, but the bruised and battered air sacks were not functioning well enough to power my muscle functions.
The risk-adjusted restrictions are not an attack on your personal freedoms. Alcohol bans and curfews are there to ensure that there is room in casualty on a Monday morning when a Covid positive Asthma sufferer presents with hypoxia symptoms. You not being in the casualty queue because of a drunken accident saved my life.
This weekend residents of Cape Town took to the beaches to protest what they consider an irrational and unconstitutional ban on leisure activities. There was very little observation of the protocols that can effectively slow down the transmission of the virus. You cannot be in favour of opening the economy and against the very methods that keep people like you safe.
I’m cancelling my gym contract because I can’t even challenge my 5-year-old in a foot race after what Covid did to my lungs. I lost out on about R10 000 of work when I was sick with Covid and another R5 000 when I was in hospital. Sick people cannot contribute to the economy, which is why keeping people healthy is more beneficial to sustainable economic existence than not slowing the spread.
Covid changes your relation to and perception of the virus. Suddenly you are a living part of the story unfolding in the media. When you tell people to “Stay Safe!” you realise that you’re warning them to stay clear of you.
That point hit home when the sliding door was shut in the casualty ward. I watched as everyone who came in to care for me meticulously dressed in full PPE. I saw the terror in the eyes of a nurse who was standing in the walkway when she realised I needed to walk by her to go to the red bathroom.
As the investigation into the Matric Rage super spreader event unfolds it came to light that as many as eight people who attended knew that they were Covid positive.
These are the same people who would hide their bites during a zombie apocalypse. These are the same people who will travel to another country to get a vaccine because their joy is more important than the needs of other humans.
These are the same people who argue about the economy when people are dying. They don’t care about anything outside of being right.
Doctors and nurses in the red wards are tired of people trying to be right and want people to be healthy. They want you to seek medical attention, test early and get treatment when the doctors can still have options and can do their jobs, and not simply try and keep you alive long enough until there’s a change in your condition.
The rumours and negativity around Covid care is the biggest factor driving this pandemic and at the core of it is a complete disregard for the safety of others.
I live a comfortable, privileged life. We’re pedantic about sanitising and wearing mask and my household was infected.
My initial Covid consultation was done over the internet and I could be driven in airconditioned comfort to a testing centre at a specific time that I reserved online. All the associated costs were covered by the medical aid and there was provision made should my condition deteriorate.
On day nine of my fight against Covid, I woke up with a fever, chest pains and my laboured breathing had become highly problematic. At the time I was already on a course of prednisone because my Asthma had been triggered.
Don’t wait to get care.
Get vaccinated when you can so we can pin this virus down under the sheer might of our humanity.
Rethink what you mean when you say the words “the economy.”
Think about the people. As I write this I got word of a friend’s father who lost his fight against Covid. I walked by him in the ICU ward during my physio sessions.
The numbers on those graphs are people. We can always make money and create employment, as long as we have people who can strategise and execute those plans. If people are dying, we limit our options.