Home Opinion and Features OPINION: Why are people behaving as if Covid-19 no longer exists?

OPINION: Why are people behaving as if Covid-19 no longer exists?

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The virus kills thousands of people every day and yet we are behaving as if it has vanished, writes Gerry Cupido.

Let’s not forget that the virus is with us. Picture: Jessica Ticozzelli/Pexels

A FEW DAYS ago, I woke up with a sore throat, headache and blocked nose. Alarm bells immediately went off in my mind.

Could I have the virus? Did I use the same mask one too many times? Am I sanitising enough?

As I went through the interactions I’ve had with others lately, I kept asking: ’Why have we changed our behaviour when the threat of the deadly virus hasn’t?’

A year ago we were too scared to leave our homes. The only physical interactions we had was with the people we lived with. Visiting family wasn’t an option. No hugs and kisses on our birthdays.

Our bedrooms or lounges became our offices and the only time we got to see our colleagues was via zoom meetings.

Our main reason for venturing out was to do grocery shopping. Even then, we did so with utmost care.

We need to remain vigilant. Picture: Pexels

Our fear of being in a small space with too many people was so great that we obediently stood in long queues to get into a supermarket or corner store.

We baked and we brewed. Finding a packet of yeast was like finding a nugget of gold. Banana loaf and pineapple beer were the order of the day.

Stripped from all the things we thought we could never live without, we remained disciplined in our behaviour, knowing that it was up to us to protect ourselves and our loved one from the virus that was rapidly spreading through our country.

Not a day went by that we didn’t receive news of someone’s passing.

Right from the beginning, we took up armour in the form of masks and copious amounts of sanitisers which we never left home without. We were vigilant about keeping our masks firmly in place and aware of what we touched. We washed and sanitised everything before entering our homes.

Fast forward to a year later and oh, how things have changed.

While the virus remains an ever-present threat, taking lives daily, our attitude towards this unstoppable force has changed – instead of becoming more vigilant we’ve become more complacent.

Our friends and family members are dying and yet, we think it’s safe to go back to our pre-Covid lives like nothing happened.

Malls are packed. Families, from grannies to babies, are there, purely as an outing. The long, single-file queues of people waiting to buy basics have turned into a mass of people browsing, window shopping and hanging out with their friends.

While hand sanitisers are readily available and accessible to all, people walk past them without a second glance. Many opt not to have their hands sprayed when entering a store.

They are usually the same people who would have their masks hanging under their noses. Regardless of the fact that wearing a mask is law, too many people seem to think it’s optional.

Being able to leave the house should be considered a luxury. A luxury that not many can afford, not financially but health wise.

There was a time when we were desperate to get outside and go for a walk. Eventually, when we were allowed the privilege, we had only one precious hour to do so. Masks were up and securely in place.

A year later, we can run freely. The roads are ours again. We can go for long walks on the beach. Only now, we abuse that privilege by not wearing our masks.

Every day we learn more about a virus that has affected our way of life. We know all we need to know about how to protect ourselves and yet, we choose not to.

Again, I ask: Why have we changed our behaviour when the threat of the deadly virus hasn’t? What has changed that has led people to believe that their lives are no longer at risk?