We are living in unprecedented times, but the item that catches out attentions the most, and it should, is Covid-19.
March is really the time when this pandemic struck, and if I think back, it really does feel like a lifetime ago.
When the mutterings started I really did not imagine that we would be where we are today. Yes, I have flitted from being a skeptic to being fearful back to being a skeptic and back again a number of times. But when you start looking at it in detail, you really cannot BUT see that this pandemic is here.
And despite what is going on around us many people globally, and in South Africa believe that Covid-19 is a hoax.
Let us look at some of the numbers. Just in case you want to question these numbers they are obtained from the John Hopkins database as well as the World Health Organization.
If you refute these figures, please do not just say they are rubbish – please provide numbers from a reputable source and not just those that came from a clairvoyant aunt’s dream a few nights ago!
These are the numbers for Covid-19 in South Africa:
- 5 March 2020 – 1 Case/ 0 Deaths
- 22 March 2020 – 274 Cases/ 0 Deaths
- 22 April 2020 – 3,635 Cases/ 75 Deaths
- 22 May 2020 – 20,125 Cases/ 407 Deaths
- 22 June 2020 – 101,590 Cases/ 2,102 Deaths
- 22 July 2020 – 394,948 Cases/ 5,940 Deaths
As you can see by these numbers the growth is exponential. And if we look at South Africa, it is lucky that the deaths are sitting at only 1,5% of those who contracted Covid-19, quite a lot lower than the world average, which at today (23 July 2020) sits at 4.1%.
For those of you who want to compare this with the flu, the World Health Organization has a flu database on their website that shows that during any given year between 250,000 and 650,000 people die, GLOBALLY, from the flu or flu related illnesses each year. They further state that this is between 0.1% to just under 1% of people who actually contract flu. So if we look at the worst case scenario with flu then Covid-19 is already 4 times worse, in terms of death.
I think it is also worth noting that the world’s health authorities have had many years experience with flu and so they are able to create these figure to include flu “related” deaths. With Covid-19, we just do not have this, so the numbers are probably even higher.
When we consider a country like South Africa, where to say that the public health service is so depleted, particularly in rural areas, is probably an under statement, it is only logical that many deaths due to covid-19 are probably not being recorded as such (I will show you some facts later).
Furthermore, we have doctors and nurses on the front line telling us over and over about the devastation they are witnessing first hand and yet people still think that this is a hoax.
Please read this post by a Dr Ramdheen, who not only talks about the dire situation, but also about the alcohol ban in South Africa (which we will touch on later).
Dr Ramdheen paints a pretty bleak picture, to say the least.
What she touches on is the second ban on alcohol in South Africa. She clearly outlines the additional pressures that have been put on the South African medical system because of the abuse of alcohol and the injuries and deaths that come with it. These are the facts. The majority of us that comment on Social Media probably do not fall into the category of people who abuse alcohol in this manner – and the majority of us do not know and understand this, and why people would be like this, but the fact remains that South Africa is a country where alcohol abuse is one of the highest globally.
So when the government banned alcohol for all, they had the increased pressures of what alcohol abuse does to the medical systems in South Africa. Is this right? No, probably not. This is singularly focused, but what are they to do. There was a ban, then they lifted it asking people to be mindful, and then the citizenry abused it. Maybe the fact is that the general citizenry just cannot be responsible and needs to be treated like children.
“If you do not do what mommy says, you cannot have a sweetie!”
Dr Ramdheen ends off her post:
“People this is not POLITICS. It’s a PANDEMIC!!!Everyone needs to fight this together. I do sympathize with those that depend on income from an alcohol based industry. But to those “responsible” drinkers who can’t sacrifice alcohol for a little while…unless you can walk a day in my shoes, put your empty glass down and STFU”
I would say she is pretty desperate in her plea. And as they say in the classics, desperate times calls for desperate measures.
But it is not quite as simple as this. The problem with the ban on alcohol is that it does not just solve a problem of abuse – it creates a whole new set of problems. There are over 100,000 people that are employed directly in the liquor industry and a further 500,000 in supporting industries (glass, plastics etc etc), not to mention the restaurant industry that is heavily reliant on the sale of alcohol.
So this decision has some far reaching effects.
And unfortunately these decisions made by the government is now bringing their “agenda” into question. One such theory is that the government is trying to reset the economy to to drive its socialist agenda – is this just a conspiracy theory or is it fact – we do not know.
But the truth, Dr Ramdheen, is that whilst this is a pandemic, it is unfortunately being politicized. And you can also see why near on 600,000 people (apart from the general citizenry who is missing their glass of wine or 10) are highly upset by this move because they cannot put a plate of food on the table – and that is also going to create additional strain on the medical system.
So, I think it is clear that we are in a pandemic. The hoax theories come in where humans manipulate a crisis to benefit themselves.
I can see, based on government decision above that many people may think this is a hoax, but the numbers and people like Dr Ramdheen prove that it is not a hoax, that it is real.
And so we also need to start looking at the devastation caused because of Covid-19.
The World Health Organisation has stated in June that they predict that up to 12,000 people can die monthly in Africa from hunger as a direct result of the measures taken to combat Covid-19. These measures are exemplified by the ban of alcohol in South Africa and the effects it will have on the people employed in direct and supporting sectors.
As it happens the South African Medical Research Council has just released the figures for people who have died of natural causes between 6 May 2020 and 14 July 2020, and they make for stagering reading.
If we look at the period between 6 May 2020 and 14 July 2020:
- For this period there were a reported 4,193 Covid-19 deaths.
- YET there were 17,090 MORE natural deaths than expected in this period.
The authors consider the gap between the number of excess deaths and confirmed Covid-19 deaths probably comprises:
- People dying from Covid-19 before they get to a healthcare facility.
- People dying from Covid-19 but the death not being reported as such.
- People dying from non-Covid-19 conditions because health systems have been orientated to Covid-19 patients.
This is really serious. And as per my claim at the beginning of the article, if the figures reported by John Hopkins are inaccurate, then the chances are good that the real figures are much higher than what we have.
We are living with an pandemic, that is clear. We need to respect that, and respect one another to try and do what we can to curb this pandemic.
How we deal with the politicization is another story!