When news spread of a frenzied murderous virus originating from the land of the rising sun, where mere mortals indulged in the peculiar habit of consumming raw meat from animals such as bats, dogs, monkeys or pangolins, in utter awe, we observed through social media networks, these images of mass contamination and panic. It all seemed so far and away.
Yet Italy, the country with the largest number of Chinese immigrants in Europe, was soon to be the target of the invisible and elusive killer.
Then, Spain, France, England, Western Europe as a whole, Iran, the United States, Africa and the rest of the world is now bearing its vicious brunt.
Six months have been sufficient to bring the planet to its knees. The world economy is on the brink of collapse. The so-called powerful countries are being strangled by the effect of measures of absolute lockdown without a glimmer of hope.
The virus is real. In the face of it, humanity remains febrile and keeps wondering.
Africa, eternally lagging behind, is vainly attempting to adopt a martial posture through measures that are hardly acceptable by a poverty stricken population.
This is a stark reminder to those for whom politics as usual is a profession in Africa, that the hour of reckonings has finally dawned on them. Time to deserve the ballot paper offered to your speeches and iron fist since independence by these populations who only aspire to a reliable and descent health care system from which everyone can benefit, an emerging economy that can stem the social gaps to allow every citizen to enjoy a standard of living that reflects the growth of which you are so proud.
States of emergency, curfews and lockdowns will only worsen the distress of fragile populations if concrete soothing measures in terms of monthly grants are not awarded in earnest.
Coronavirus kills. It is more than ever urgent to encourage our families to heed to the government measures, because we live in times of great uncertainty, where even the most advanced societies are left to wonder when it'll all end.
The least that can be said is, Ivory Coast is far from being out of the woods, so one can only wonder about the level of alert each citizen is willing to abide by in the Coronavirus era.
After we witnessed uncontrollable crowds at bus terminals last weekend and the ones at Air-France ticket counters in Plateau, now we have a new potential source of propagation of Covid-19 in Cocody. As our reporter observed on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in order to obtain a pass to leave the city of Abidjan as per Government measures, the police academy was transformed into a breeding ground for the deadly virus as hundred gathered like cattle to collect the precious document.
Some people have not yet taken the true measure of the tragedy that the country is going through with Covid-19, and probably never will, as it was the case during the Ebola and Swan flu outbreaks. It would certainly be best to consider online applications for these passes.
Elsewhere, studies have indicated that humanity may be in for the long haul, as social distancing is now considered controversial.
Dr Simon Clarke an expert in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading Uk, said ‘there are too many casual assumptions being made around Covid-19,’ with scientists still working out just how infectious the virus really is.
He added: ‘We’ve only known about this virus for three months, so know virtually nothing.’
It comes as a new study suggested social distancing gaps should be four times bigger than two metres, at around 26 feet.
The study from an academic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found droplets containing the virus – when in a moist and warm atmosphere – can be sneezed out at speeds between 33 and 100 feet per second.
This creates what is known as a ‘turbulent gas cloud’ spanning up to eight metres that can reach neighbouring people.
The study also warned viral droplets can remain suspended in the air for several hours, and their direction can be easily changed by air ventilation systems.
These infected mucus or saliva droplets are released in the usual way – when we cough, sneeze, speak and breathe. And they infect other people when they enter their body through the eyes, nose or mouth.
The MIT study concluded that current two-metre social distancing advice is ‘based on estimates of range that have not considered the possible presence of a high-momentum cloud carrying the droplets long distances’.
The study added: ‘Given the turbulent puff cloud dynamic model, recommendations for separations of three feet to six feet (one metre to two metres) may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel, thus generating an underappreciated potential exposure range for a healthcare worker.
‘For these and other reasons, wearing of appropriate personal protection equipment is vitally important for health care workers caring for patients who may be infected, even if they are farther than six feet away from a patient.’
Clearly meaning: "Africa should be worried".
The broader issue here is the individual's freedom to congregate as he pleases versus the limitations put on that freedom by what is known by legalists as " State Action". The outcome of this intellectual and emotional struggle may well determine the character of our lives in the years long after the coronavirus pandemic of 2019.
Published By Claude B. Djaquis