Dr Tendai Zuze
IT has been more than a year since Covid-19 first struck and millions of people have died of the disease — from the millions — more have been infected.
You would think by now our doctors and other scientists would be on top of the situation and maybe would have found a cure.
But the reality remains that there is no universally recognised cure for Covid-19 yet.
Allow me to pass my condolences to the multitude of local families who have lost their loved ones to this deadly virus.
Without trying to sound defeatist, we are really in trouble.
There have been a lot of “cures” suggested over the months.
These include hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, azithromycin, Vitamin D, zinc and our very own zumbani among others.
People have taken these and still died and their efficacy has been brought into question on various forums. It would appear then that Covid-19 is one of those diseases where your fate is sealed early.
Of course, there are certain groups of people who seem to be more vulnerable to the severe forms of Covid-19 and to death.
These include obese people, people on anti-hypertensive treatment as well as people with conditions that weaken their immunity like diabetics and those with other chronic conditions.
But a lot of people in these high risk groups still get mild forms of the disease and recover easily.
The nature of Covid-19 infection is such that most of those infected will survive, which is why a lot of remedies have been getting credit for saving lives where recovery was imminent anyway.
There are, however, various treatments that can be used to make you comfortable as far as breathing and general comfort goes and these should definitely be tried.
Oxygen therapy has remained an important part of Covid-19 treatment and of all the treatments, it seems the most effective for severe disease. You would usually need to be admitted to hospital to be put on oxygen in which case other supportive measures will be done.
Preventing infection, therefore, remains key in the fight against Covid-19.
One of the most effective preventative measures is vaccination. The Covid-19 vaccine creates an “artificial” immunity in your body by building up a store of antibodies against the virus so that when your body comes into contact with Covid-19 it has a head start in the fight.
The vaccine will not make you immune to Covid-19. You will still be liable to infection even though vaccinated people will have milder forms of the disease and have a lower chance of complications and death.
If you are wondering if you should get vaccinated, the answer is yes, you should.
The benefits of vaccination go beyond the individual and the benefit to the community should not be underestimated.
Vaccination alone will not be enough in stopping the Covid-19 scourge.
There is also need to enforce other measures that limit the spread of the virus. Physical distancing is one such measure.
The Covid-19 virus has neither wings nor legs and relies on us to take it places. Limiting unnecessary travel and avoiding gatherings and other crowded places becomes important.
Wearing masks consistently and correctly is also important.
Wearing a mask correctly involves keeping it on when you are in public. There is nothing more annoying than those people who pull down their masks to talk when in actual fact that is the time when the mouth should be covered.
Hand washing, sanitisation and general cleanliness also go a long way in stopping the spread of the Covid-19 virus thereby limiting new infections and consequent deaths.
Lockdowns, localised and otherwise, have also been employed.
Now, for a lockdown to be effective, it has to be absolute.
There is need to be as few exemptions as possible.
Our lockdowns have not been effective because we have adopted a business as usual sort of approach.
Social places like bars and shebeens have continued to operate and even some schools are conducting lessons.
There seem to be some people who think they are special and immune to Covid-19.
Economic factors have also forced a lot of people out into the streets and other situations that expose them and others to Covid-19. While I sympathise with those who have no option, I would still encourage them to take extra caution.
Then there are those people who tempt fate and laugh in the face of Covid-19. I know some who completely refuse to wear masks or getting vaccinated based on false information found on social media platforms.
Such people need to be reminded that while they themselves might get away with it, they are probably responsible for a lot of sickness and deaths downstream.
We should not be selfish when it comes to fighting Covid-19 and should always remember that our actions affect other people in ways we would never imagine.
Lastly, be reminded that no one is immune to Covid-19 infection and anyone can get it, even if you have been infected before or are vaccinated.
Covid-19 symptoms, unfortunately, vary so much it is now hard to come up with a list.
Any illness could be Covid-19 and in fact a lot of infected people have no symptoms at all. The only way you can be sure if it is Covid-19 or not is to get a test.
You also need to remember that Covid-19 tests, whether antigen or PCR, are not 100 percent sensitive and a negative result never completely eliminates the possibility of Covid-19.
The best approach to Covid-19 is to assume that you are infected and everyone around you is also infected.
It doesn’t matter if it is your workmates or your close relatives or friends, you need to take maximum precautions when you are around people.
And if you are found to be Covid-19 positive, I urge you to be responsible and isolate for the prescribed period (usually 10 to 14 days) to stem the spread of the virus.