As we enter this day, March 14th we are all worried about the coronavirus and where it will all end. Schools and universities have closed, major sporting events are cancelled. People are asked to self-isolate and work from home.
There are a few problems with that. For the majority of people, this is not a voluntary move, they were not asked and they can’t say no. What does that do to one? It feels like you are not in control and when you are not in control you start to experience anxiety and worry.
Working moms and dads are worried about elderly parents living far away. They now have to try and do some productive work while the kids are running around at home. It feels like the spring break came early, but without the cheerfulness and excitement.
We are asking ourselves, is it safe to go to the mall? One has to eat. The gym is off-limits. If you are living in the city, you are at least an hour’s drive away from the nearest park and then you have to watch out that you choose the one where there are no crowds. It’s supposed to be a relaxing weekend. If you hear of anyone who has travelled you say sorry, you can’t visit even if they came from a country where the count is zero. One just cannot take any chances.
In South Africa, we currently have 24 confirmed cases. In a country of 60 million people, that is less than a drop in a bucket. However, if we don’t take precautions this number can rise exponentially and out of control within the next few weeks, just like in other countries. Our public healthcare system is fragile as it is, we just won’t be able to cope with the masses who will need treatment.
That, compounded by the fact that we now have regular load shedding (electricity cuts), rising food and fuel prices, we are starting to feel the pinch. Psychologically, more than anything.
This is dangerous because we bottle up emotions. It is also a country rife with unemployment. There is more strain on the income earners where one person is looking after their own family, plus extended family members and those who are not working. A bleak outlook overall.
At the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so connected to all of humanity, to people in other countries fighting a similar struggle to try and curb the virus and bring it under control.
People are opening up. They know they are not alone. There are more acts of goodwill that normally go unnoticed. Even if you can’t visit family and friends, keep in touch with them. Send a quick message or call them. People will appreciate so much that you care.
Above all else, keep a level head. People are looking up to you for guidance and direction, without you knowing. You are their only beacon of hope. Don’t let your light go out. Keep shining.