The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been making its impact felt over the past few weeks.
As previously revealed by the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force, travel and mingling over the Christmas holidays seemed to have raised the rate of infection greatly, which translated to Botswana recording an increase in the COVID-19 mortality. Previously, COVID-19 deaths may have appeared as just statistics, and the identities of those that lost their lives due to COVID-19 related complications would be known only to relatives and close associates. Of recent, some families of well-known people who have died recently as a result of COVID-19 related complications have been giving the media the go-ahead to disclose the cause of death in the articles. This is a welcome development indeed, since some hard-headed people who doubted the severity of the virus are beginning to take COVID-19 seriously and hopefully now most if not all will start following protocols and work together to minimise and ultimately stop the spread of the virus.
However, there is a concern, regarding COVID-19 patients and confidentiality, because people have now started sharing other people's COVID-19 results over the Internet without their consent, and part of the reason is that Sir Ketumile Teaching Hospital has now become congested, and some patients tell their friends about those who have been admitted and their status. Social-happy fingers then start typing, and some even go to the extent of announcing someone as dead while they are still alive. There are those who of course have taken it upon themselves to disclose their COVID-19 status, with the hope that their testimonies will educate doubting Thomases to take the virus seriously.
Some fear disclosing their COVID-19 positive status because of stigmatisation, while the virus, just like the flu, can infect anyone at any time. Some still need a lot of education, as they continue to stigmatise those that test positive of the virus. Yes, we still need a lot of education on the virus, but in the meantime let's be careful not to mistreat our friends, family members, colleagues and business associates, who have fully recovered from COVID-19. While the person still has the virus, it is understandable that they should be isolated so that they do not spread the virus, but once the person has recovered there is no reason why the person can't go back to their normal routine and become an active member of society. Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 have reported that even after being given a certificate that they have recovered, they still come across people who do not want to be around them. It is commendable that the government has tried to educate members of the public on the virus, but there is a need to do more in this area, especially on what happens after someone recovers from COVID-19. Let's do our level best to curb the spread of COVID-19! Wear your mask, wash your hands, sanitise and stay safe!