Coronavirus suddenly becoming very real for us all

It has become a matter of when — not if — Covid-19 reaches our homes.
It has become a matter of when — not if — Covid-19 reaches our homes.
Image: Jozef Polc/

It feels like a lifetime ago that the movie Contagion trended in SA.  

The 2011 American thriller about a virus spreading, similar to the coronavirus, enjoyed a bit of a revival earlier this year just as our very own real-life contagion gained momentum globally, finally being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on March 11.

Now we are living that movie, bar some of the extreme frenzy and looting in Contagion.

Our hospitals are functioning at capacity and elective surgeries have already been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Warehouses and stadiums have become field hospitals in an attempt to supplement the stretched hospital services.

Mortuaries are overflowing; funeral parlours are battling to keep up. And still, people continue to be infected with Covid-19 and die.

Now, it is hard to find a person who has not been affected — be that directly infected or knowing someone who has tested positive.

This is by no means fearmongering. This is reality.

In addition, all community and public sector mobile testing sites in Nelson Mandela Bay are expected to close at the end of this week.

Dr Litha Matiwane, who was deployed to the metro by health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, said this was because the number of people opting to be tested was placing an overwhelming strain on the health-care system and the National Health Laboratory Service.

“Nelson Mandela Bay has hit the surge of the curve,” he told The Herald earlier this week.  

Lockdown, initially, was implemented to allow the country time to prepare the health sector for the influx of patients.

Now, we need to consider a self-imposed lockdown. For our own safety, and that of our loved ones, to live as though we are still in lockdown level 5 — not because government is forcing us to do so, but because it is the safe thing to do.

It has become a matter of when — not if — Covid-19 reaches our homes.

And we can only hope that when it does, we come out on the other side unscathed.


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