Tuesday 5 July 2022

Coronavirus streets between continents - LXVIII

It is still here

One statistic that rarely makes the news these days is the number of COVID-19 infections anywhere, back home in the UK, through countries that one does transit and now in South Africa where I will be for a month. When I left the UK last week, the rate of infections was rising, and the government website provides figures of 116,312 new cases in the 7 days to the 26th of June 2022.

Every indication would suggest this dreadful virus is not beyond us, even for the fully vaccinated and boosted, the risk remains and so precautions are necessary which I barely see anyone adhere to. On my flight from Manchester to Amsterdam, there were a handful of face mask wearers. Apart from when I needed a sip of water, I had my face mask on the whole time.

Carefree and without

On the Amsterdam to Cape Town leg of about 11 hours, whilst it was advised we don face masks, it was neither enforced nor announced. Left to their devices, a majority chose not to wear a face mask for the entire flight, in my case, I was not ready to take the risk except for the times I had drinks and meals.

I was first to disembark the plane in Cape Town and first through health checks and passport control, and until during the Ebola virus times, there was no one standing around with a temperature gun, life has returned to uneasy normalcy that is as daring and it could be foolhardy.

On one Uber ride the driver half remonstrated that face masks were optional, we did not need to wear face masks, I would rather not have the option of getting infected in the remotest way, so I keep my face mask on and more times than not, I am the strange looking one because I have my face covered and everyone else is happily without.

No courting danger

Seeing that I have just come through a bout of flu after my arrival in Cape Town that took me out of effective ability to do much for myself, talk less of anyone else, much that I desired to attend church on Sunday, I was not up to it. The face mask is a temporary inconvenience and I have more than enough in supply to last months.

In my view, we still need to be careful, people who have had COVID-19 though mild in their symptoms have not had the kind of recovery that represents a complete eradication of the effects of the virus, I would rather err on the side of caution than walk bare-chested into the lion’s den of a raging pandemic. We have to learn to live with COVID-19, but smartly too.

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