Don’t drop the ball in anti-Covid pandemic fight

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 00:00 | By
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

To fail to plan is to plan to fail; a cliché but one that touches all facets of life. The Covid-19 pandemic did not catch the country unawares as reports world over showed the virus was spreading fast, months before it landed in Kenya.

Our preparedness was shambolic. Almost akin to the ostrich with its head in the sand hoping the pandemic would pass by.

The national government mobilised resources and put in place stringent measures that helped keep the infection at bay and, so far, all indications are the measures are working. But one critical player in this success story is the individual.

Suffice it to say the government could not have managed the situation had the populace adopted a cavalier attitude to the pandemic.

It took individual effort to plan an onslaught on the disease through hand washing, social distancing, sanitising and seeking medical help early.

The planning succeeded. The curve has flattened, the strain on hospitals eased and a semblance of normalcy is returning to society. 

But that is where danger lies. World over those who dropped the ball after flattening the curve are shutting down again.

In the UK, Boris Johnson is a troubled prime minister. He knows what a second shutdown would mean for the economy but the numbers are going up.

The soccer Premier League that was supposed to allow fans into stadiums after a tumultuous footballing season has shelved the plan.

In Israel, the government has imposed a second shutdown after things got out of hand.

These are developed societies with better facilities but the situation is grave. As we anticipate an easing of restrictions next week many people have already dropped the guard.

Those attending political gatherings do so without a care in the world while mourners have thrown caution to the wind and are attending funerals in large numbers.

A casual walk in any town in Kenya shows the number of people without masks is surging; social gatherings are growing bigger and louder no one is taking the matter seriously. Some county leaders have even suggested shutting down isolation facilities. 

This is callous; it is irresponsible. The planning that saw the infections go down should continue with fastidious care.

Individual responsibility should be at the heart of keeping infection numbers down. Indeed, the cost of dropping the ball is too high. 

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