Trials and Tribulations of Covid-19 in Africa

My Thought and Experience with Covid-19

Part 1 By Meme Writes 2020

If, like me, you have had first-hand experience of the effects of Covid-19 and are forced to change your lifestyle, you’ll probably be counting down the days until you can live without its effects again!

I am going to share in parts how people have been affected differently by the outbreak of the disease. In part ,1 I will do a “fly past” over the general effects of Covid-19, and in part 2, I will zoom into Africa and look at how this disease has and still is negatively affecting the ordinary man. I will explore some business practices which have, for time immemorial, downplayed the importance of the ordinary African man. In part 3, I will look at Covid-19 may have negatively or positively affected some households on a personal level.

What is Covid-19?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus Disease of 2019 which is commonly referred to SARS Covid-19 or simply Covid-19 is a pandemic that gripped the world in early 2020 and brought many countries to their knees. The fast-spreading disease was first detected in Wuhan, China, in November 2019 hence its name: Covid-19.

From endemic to pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) the monitor of the world’s health always steps in when there is a threat to the health of humans across the world. When the disease broke out in China it was declared an endemic but quickly became a pandemic. What is the difference? When a disease breaks out and affects a certain area or community and is contained within that community, it is endemic. However, when containment fails and it leaks into other countries and spreads to all corners of the world, it becomes a pandemic. According to the Longman Dictionary for Advanced Learners, “A Pandemic is a disease that affects almost everyone in a large area.

By April 2020 the rate of infection around the world was unbelievable.

The rate of infection for Covid-19 was unbelievable from the onset; it swept across the world in record time and the world witnessed country after country going into lockdown as governments were forced to put a stop all movement for weeks or even months depending on the severity and threat of the disease. The world was taking a hard knock from this disease.  Therefore, the lockdowns were meant to slow the spread of the disease by keeping people apart and “socially distanced.”

The New Normal!

The screening of travellers, quarantine periods, social distancing and masking up became the new normal across the world with the hope of cutting down the spread of the disease. These are currently the best survival tactics since no vaccine or cure has been found. Doctors and scientists have been working around the clock in search of a vaccine or a cure without any known breakthroughs.

So, when Covid-19 hit our streets, there was only one possible play: go into hiding! This, however, has had its own effects behind the scenes. The biggest one was that people would not be able to physically go to work and for many it was, thankfully, possible to work from home. This is something that is common in countries like France where they encourage what they term “Télé-travail” where one works from home on most days and only checks into work occasionally. All communication with the workplace would be done via emails or phone calls. This way of working is good for the environment as it reduces pollution and its effects because there would be fewer commuters on the road. It was, definitely, easier for countries that were already employing this way of working to mostly continue operating. Even their schools were able to continue digitally.

What does it mean for Africa?

Then we come to our beautiful Africa. Locally speaking, I must say the effects of Covid-19 were not as severe as they were in Europe, America and other parts of the world. The figures of infected people and those who died daily were shocking. When I was following the day-to-day statistics for the European countries and they were giving daily deaths figures of close to a thousand for one country, it was shocking! In about 30 days, countries like France and Italy recorded a total of close to 30,000 deaths each! They say the situation was aggravated by the cold weather as the virus seems to thrive in cold conditions. So, how did we get spared from such high losses in Africa?

In the early parts of the year, this was the situation in Africa.

Africa is generally a warm to the hot continent, but we did get Covid-19 cases in many African countries. South Africa topped with very high cases and infection rates. This could be also due to the fact that they conducted tests rigorously across the country. But then again, if one contracts Covid-19 they can still die even if a test was not done. So, in those countries were tests were not conducted on a large scale, we still did not have that many deaths; and in Africa if there is one thing you cannot hide, it’s death. When there is a funeral everyone knows about it. So, what is the reason for having not so high figures even when the disease is present in Africa?

Covid-19 cases remain low in Africa

Could it be due to our normal way of life and the food we eat which have rendered us stronger against Covid-19? You see, one of the safety measures against Covid-19 is the constant washing of hands and in Africa that is actually our way of life. We wash our hands to eat all the time and we eat many times! The fact that Africans mostly use their hands to eat forces them to wash them before they do, whereas non-Africans who use forks and knives to eat do not necessarily need to wash their hands to eat as they do not touch their food with their bare hands!

So, our African way of life which others would consider as a sign of poverty is what could really be protecting us from this pandemic. And ‘social distancing’ is already our way of life in Africa. Why? Because we do not hug and kiss each other for greeting or cuddle too much even among families as other cultures do! Our biggest weakness is the shaking of hands! We do shake hands a lot to greet, in fact too much! But then, we would have washed our hands a lot to eat and after eating, so that basically keeps our hands clean in most parts.

Do not get me wrong, people! I am not saying Covid-19 does not spread that way, remember, it is a respiratory disease that is transmitted through breathing in droplets let out when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth eyes and nose before washing one’s hands. The disease cannot enter your body through the skin! Because you can introduce it into your system through touching a surface where it has been deposited and touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, it then means keeping a distance of at least a metre between people and masking up would minimize the risk of breathing in the contaminated droplets.

We went to bed to a normal world and woke up to a totally different one with a ‘new normal’ and all sorts of protocols. We moved from traveling freely and willingly to lockdowns, frequent hand washings, hand sanitizers and face masks! The world went into a frenzy and was brought to a practical stand still. Airplanes parked, city centres and markets were empty for weeks to months, schools stood deserted, and health facilities became the busiest.

This was all because of this pandemic which manifests itself with flu-like symptoms which culminate in respiratory infections.

The effects of Covid-19 on our lives?

What does Covid-19 mean for you and me? For our children, relatives, friends and acquaintances? Or even our employers or employees? This is where the trials and tribulations begin: each person has been directly or indirectly touched by this scourge, some as infected and many as affected.

I part 2 I will share personal experiences and those of others. Most of them are just due to unscrupulous business owners who are taking advantage of this problem to manipulate and exploit their workers and the digital divide that is evident where school children are concerned!  



7 thoughts on “Trials and Tribulations of Covid-19 in Africa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s