So, it’s another Saturday again & of course it means another article. Well, with everything that’s been going on around the world especially with COVID-19, I thought it was time I shared my personal insights on the matter. Needless to say, the comments people have been making questioning as to whether this is the end are in particular what have inspired this article.
Enough said, let’s get to it!
The Coronavirus emerged late last year, and according to the World Health Organization over 90,000 people have been infected around the world with over 3,000 confirmed deaths from this virus. However true identification of the nature of the virus was only determined by researchers in China around the beginning of January and by the second week, China reported its first known death from the virus. It wasn’t until the end of January when the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a Global Health Emergency after other countries in Asia and the United States of America reported deaths and infected cases. Now Coronavirus has the entire world on its toes. We have our ears on the ground and eyes glued to our television screens/computers/phones just awaiting updates on what’s next. When you go out or read the newspapers, especially comment sections directed at this outbreak, the common comments from people question whether this is the beginning of the end. Honestly, no one knows what will happen next or how long this will go on for before it’s completely eradicated and a cure or vaccine is ready. So, we wait, we continue to read, we continue watching the news, we continue waiting on research findings and hope that this will subside soon.
I think I have mentioned before that I am a Medical Scientist by profession and whilst undertaking my studies we dissected virology extensively and of course, Coronavirus was amongst the many viruses we were taught about. However, the knowledge base, especially on virology, was offered to us but now since this is a new strain, we are honestly just learning as everything progresses. In this case, unfortunately, information is being gathered as new cases are confirmed and as people die. However, we remain hopeful and eager to learn more about this new strain. Yesterday I had a conversation with my friend Lindo, a fellow Medical Scientist, who’s now furthering his studies in Public Health and we got down to discussing more about the virus. He was telling me that, a few weeks ago, a speaker was invited to his school who was asked to give a presentation about Coronavirus. He mentioned that though the speaker had a virology background as well, she did however also confirm the fact that as much as we may have learned about this virus before, unfortunately, this is a different strain and as such information is being gathered as it progresses. Lindo, further went on to tell me that since it is a matter of global health emergency, the discussions went on to discuss measures that could be taken to try educate the public more on this and what they ought to look out for and of course how best to minimize transmission because truth is, the public is looking on to the health sector for answers and treatment options even (cure/vaccine). That said, it is upon us as health care workers to continue educating our communities about this and to continue strengthening our health facilities in terms of pleading with our governments to provide financial aid for medical equipment and to ensure that our facilities are at a position to handle confirmed cases as they surface. Truthfully, the level of preparedness in many countries especially low and middle-income countries is quite poor. For example, in my country, we have to rely on sending a specimen for testing to South Africa which has a laboratory to cater for this and yes we are building up to try to get us to a better position to tackle a case if at all we are ever met with one. Until then we remain cautious and follow the protocols that have been designed to deal with this virus and precautions as well.
In any case, my last article which was on Wednesday, I mentioned the fact that one of our closest neighbouring countries, South Africa had confirmed one case of COVID-19 in Kwazulu Natal on that day, and once the news broke about this the level of fear escalated way more than it had been over the past couple of months. Now on breaking news, as I write this article, a second case has just been confirmed in Gauteng and of course, South Africa has managed to build the capacity to handle these cases. So both patients are in isolation, receiving care and those who have come into contact with them are being closely monitored. So, yes fears have been hovering around since the news broke out particularly because it feels like it has hit home already. Although other African countries had confirmed cases being reported over the course of the outbreak, we felt somehow cocooned although we did have scares in Botswana, South Africa and my country in the past month or so which were all cleared. Now though with this confirmation, you can only imagine how we have transitioned. Measures are being put in place to try and educate the public as much as possible about the nature of the virus and what is known is being shared through the media especially the mode of transmission, symptoms to look out for and other safety precautions. Unfortunately, regardless of this information circulating, there are still many people who are ignorant of these facts and know nothing at all about what’s happening. This honestly left me flabbergasted as I watched one daytime talk show sometime this week and some members of the public were engaged in conversation about this virus and quite a few admitted to not being aware of it because they said that they neither listened to nor read the news. This begged the question, as to how these individuals would know on the protocol to follow if at all they developed symptoms aligned to how this viral infection presents itself and particularly how they would know about the precautions to adhere to. Honestly, watching this was truly heartbreaking and made me wonder under what rock these people were living under!
Now thinking about all these cases, and especially now with our neighbour in mind, I couldn’t help but think how appropriate and fitting the daily devotional passage from the book I am reading was especially in relation to what’s happening right now. It was based on Isaiah 41:13 and spoke about not being afraid because God was here to help us and He had His hand firmly gripping ours. I went on to read the passage from the daily devotional book and there’s a part which stuck with me which said, “As long as we are earthbound, unexpected and unwelcome problems remain our lot’’. So during these times, we begin to question the presence of God in all of it, but what we need to appreciate is the fact that He is still with us through all of this, holding on to our hands. So we need not worry or live in fear because He knows. As I read through this I remembered something one of our Pastors, who’s in the health field, shared in the church around early February when the first suspected case in Botswana was made known through the news. She said that one of her colleagues at work upon hearing the news had said that if a case would be confirmed in our country, it would honestly be the last day they would see her at work. In any case, it’s what our Pastor said next which stuck with me. She said that she hoped or rather believed that as we were all gathered under that roof, we were born again Christians and with that said we ought to have understood that when we die, no matter what the cause of death was we must have known that we are heaven-bound. She asked why we had to live in worry then if we believed in God? So, as I read my devotional passage today, I appreciated what she had said back in February and all I kept repeating in my heart were the words found in Psalm 46, particularly acknowledging that God is with us, there is nothing He cannot do, we ought to be still and know that He is God!
Now, because of the novelty of this virus and knowledge that it will take some time to get a vaccine or cure, the comments onlione, in the newspapers questioning whether it is the beginning of the end aren’t at all surprising because people are scared. However, it can’t be the beginning, I mean with everything that has been going on even prior to this outbreak, I believe is a testament to what’s noted in God’s word that indeed we already are living in the last days. So Coronavirus isn’t the beginning, we have no idea where all this leads to, however, we still hold on to the knowledge that God’s got us and the fact that He has protected us, healed us from a number of both infectious and non-infectious diseases, He will do the same even now. So we cling on to that knowledge and for us who are believers in Christ that is the only thing we need- knowledge that the God of yesterday, is still the same God today and forever!
Honestly, we all have no idea what’s going to happen with this outbreak, however, we take each day as it comes. We take the necessary precautions, brace ourselves and continue to cling on to the Lord. You can read the following scriptures just to sensitize yourselves and drink from the well that I and many others in Christ drink from because I believe that meditating over the word and having faith in it does way more than you could ever imagine. These scriptures speak to disease and Gods promise in that regard. These are a few of many of course. So here you go; Exodus 23:25, Psalms 107:20, Psalms 103:3, Jeremiah 33:6 Exodus 15:26, Isaiah 53:4-5 and II Chronicles 7:14.
Let’s constantly keep ourselves updated friends on what’s going on and follow the precautions that have been set to minimize the risk of exposure and transmission thereof. Also, I think we best normalize going to the hospital if at all we exhibit any of the symptoms they’ve attached to this virus because the major issue is that we tend to ignore symptoms or postpone going for checkup disregarding the fact that we are only making matters worse. In essence, let’s adopt a hygienic etiquette: wash our hands, cover our mouth when we sneeze or cough. Basically, protect the next person as you would expect them to protect you by following the set protocols. We trust God to continue covering us. Let’s be safe out there friends. It shall be well!
Grounded in Faith