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Wake-up call to humanity

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When shocked into an awareness of the crucial difference, I set about intense information-gathering.

By the time this column appears, there would have been so many things that have changed. As TSEliot says in a famous poem: In a minute there is time/for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

So what I am writing now will be old hat in terms of the rapid adjustment and readjustments we are having to make to cope with this universal scourge called coronavirus. It is an RNA-containing spherical virus that is now referred to as Covid-19 because it is new among other corona viruses.

Before this scary outbreak, I never bothered to distinguish between bacteria and viruses. My doctors took care of that.

When shocked into an awareness of the crucial difference, I set about intense information-gathering.

We live with bacteria and viruses all the time. There is treatment to which bacteria responds that makes a return to good health possible.

Not so in the case of viruses. They do not respond to medication.

Flu is an example of a virus. A virus might not kill you, but it will compromise your natural immune system that exposes you to secondary infections which could be fatal.

The immediate answer to a virus epidemic – short of a miracle cure – is containment. It requires a rethink about the way we conduct ourselves in private and in public.

All of us, to a greater or lesser degree, are going to be infected eventually. The mortality rate is still just speculation. But the most vulnerable groups are the very young and the very old. Followed by those who already have compromised health conditions like asthma, heart conditions or kidney malfunction.

Importantly, the body’s natural immune system is your best defence and can guarantee survival.

To act on this knowledge, we first go into containment mode. That means minimising movement in public.

The virus lives on surfaces and is spread through droplets of spittle during sneezing. So wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow and sterilise all surfaces. If you are infected, stay home for at least 14 days to contain the spread.

Boost your immune system with healthy eating. Drop debilitating habits like smoking or drinking.

And, strange as it might sound, avoid contact with your fellow human beings. Don’t shake hands or kiss. Not even a fist bump.

One cannot stress enough the washing of the hands, preferably with soap or, in public, with hand sanitiser. As often as you remember.

And don’t touch your face. This is harder than it sounds

The Doomsday boys are having a field-day evoking God’s vengeance on mankind. The only relevance this holds is for us to consider the importance of the life of each human being.

Consider the naked dread of the uninformed. Or those who can’t access intervention. Or can’t afford soap.

This is not a wake-up call to science and knowledge. This is a wake-up call to humanity to ask serious questions about equity, compassion and shared experience.

My story isn’t done. Just as the pandemic isn’t done.