Monday 28 December 2020

Coronavirus streets in Cape Town - I

Doing everything possible

The incidents of Coronavirus infections in South Africa is quite concerning that there is a constant review of policies and options to gain control of the pandemic and reduce the spread of the virus.

Generally, the standard protocols apply, avoiding crowds, avoiding close contact, and keeping away from closed spaces. We wear masks that cover the mouth and nose fully, sanitise our hands anywhere we go, mostly in the shops. Some restaurants and establishments go further by scanning your temperature and taking down your details before you can access their services.

With all these precautions there still seems to be a lot of clear and present dangers, of much concern is closed spaces. We are masked and socially distanced but the closed spaces without extensive ventilation might well be unwittingly super-spreader locations.

Things of concern

The indoor places are usually not open enough and I doubt where air-conditioning is present, the recirculation of air is as safe as it portends. People are however still going about their business that makes you wonder if there is something amiss.

On the registers that document visits of patrons, there are fields for names, addresses, identification numbers (optional), phone numbers, and recorded body temperature. One would expect there to be a time in and time out column too. It is bureaucratic but necessary, you do not want to pile together all visitors to a location where it is unlikely any two people encountered each other there.

The absence of time recordings mean that if anyone contracts the virus and tests positive, everyone who attended the establishment on that day if records are clean and properly maintained, or who has attended over the last couple of days will get contracted of their possible exposure with no indication or detail as to the way and means by which they have been endangered.

Living on prayer

As much as we should avoid letting paranoia and suspicion become our lodestar, as we cannot tell whether anyone is affected on sight and as people are asymptomatic but infectious long before they present any symptoms, you have to assume everyone is a possible vector until proven otherwise. With strangers, you only have their word in terms of where they have been, who they have been in contact with and whether they will be truthful about their recent exposure and history.

All these factors weigh on one’s mind that you have to be very careful of what you do and where you go, or you complete sequester yourself and shun every circumstance that could put you in a vulnerable situation. There are ramifications in unintended and radically consequential ways, we need to be conscious, conversant, and conscientious. We can gain control of this thing, it will take time and as things are in such flux, we live from day-to-day alert, in hope, and in prayer.

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