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On Covid-19: A common man’s proposal to tackle the global pandemic

Corona virus?

The first time I think I heard the name “Corona”, it was a Footballer, one of Mexican origin I think, whose surname is Jesus, with his silky dribbling skills and charming personality, I could have sworn then that the name was anything but that an angel of life. It was a name that seemed to exemplify calmness and peace naturally, and would definitely not invoke any nostalgic effect or fear at all. The second time I heard of ‘Corona’, it was a car, I think of Toyota model (not to be mistaken for ‘Corolla’), which seemed to represent modesty and simplicity in vehicular transportation and road navigation- ease and comfort. But the third time I heard and read of Corona, (three’s the magic I think?) it was nothing reassuring, surely scary and life-threatening-It was now a barely-known killer virus, infecting people without the slightest of warnings, residing in patient without the slimmest of symptoms and tearing countries of the world apart without the privilege of an advance warning.

Since the virus was first discovered in the town of Wuhan, China late last year, the entire world has been brought almost to its knees as it seems the advance of this dangerous virus has not been halted in the least, nor reasonably curtailed at best.  While frantic and desperate reactive measures continue to be adopted in many countries, yet, these panic efforts do not appear capable of themselves to sufficiently aggress the present situation. The general demeanour of people towards this has been that of dread, fear and apprehension. People are panic buying and panic selling; businesses are shutting down more and more in unbelievably quick periods. Investment is reaching its lowest ebbs in decades, people are becoming  less financially resolute, and as hard as it will be-it seems it is only a matter of when than if, for the next wave of global recession to step in.

While I am-admittedly only but a common lay man in matters of viral infections and the terminology-complex world of diseases and cannot bizarrely or even remotely lay even a pinch-sized claim to any level of expertise on health, I do believe that there are general and specific approaches appropriate for these times and important (non-medical I must say) tips which can help to arrest this situation.

What governments must do

Without a doubt, the key and most important piece in solving this giant puzzle is first and foremost the government-One only need compare the examples of South Korea and the U.S to see this clearly. This is because the placement structure of government means that far-reaching and nationally consequent policy choices can and will (need to) be made by government in this period, and a careless, misdirected or ill-thought move will definitely heat the polity, bounce back on the citizens or push the fight further backwards. As such governments must advance research, tighten containment measures and encourage, entrust, empower and fully support health professionals to do their jobs effectively as all our lives, even that of the elites this time rest in the hands of both the health professionals and government indirectly. Government must also do its best to propose equally beneficial economic measures to cushion the obvious economic strains these times will impose on both businesses and people. Low or interest free Loans/Bailouts may have to be handed out to keep even our most resilient businesses afloat in the days to come and douse the massive flame of huge lay-offs which seem desperately imminent already.

The most vulnerable of citizens-those with no jobs/housing, those who will lose theirs too and even families who seem stable at the moment may have to receive direct government intervention financially to provide for themselves and their kids through these dark times, especially if government directives to stay at home in isolation must be complied with and not become involuntary death sentences. Also, it is important to note that in times of great global concerns such as this- Fear and panic can cause more harm than even the virus itself and it is the place of government to instil confidence in citizens through regular progress updates and confidence-instilling messages in these trying times.

What the world must do

The thing about adversity such as this is that- it has both the potential to unite globally and the element of division-as countries may adopt a totally self-preserving policy action which tends to isolate their reaction, instead of a united front- to face this monster together and defeat it jointly. It now goes without saying that this is a critical period in global history, as already-what began and was dismissed initially as a solely Chinese health issue has since gained ignominious footing on each continent of the globe, from Australia, Africa to South America. As such, a singular reaction of countries will not address what has become a globally-threatening disease.  Thus, the United Nations must respond as one not just through the WHO but also through every cadre of its leadership to forge ahead together and address this unpleasant phenomenon jointly, knowing that this is now a global-sized malady requiring a global-sized remedy.

The truth is that as unfortunate as this incident is playing out, it gives us the opportunity to address and face this headlong from a united front, realizing that a problem that affects all of us will require a solution that will help all of us. The thematic message for this period must be- We are all in this together. Therefore, countries that will make breakthrough in research on vaccinations and cure ahead of others must carry the rest of the world along. Self-preservation is not a crime, but we must not be selfish with what can save the world.

What we common people must do

For us common Men, we must do all we can to support and comply with all valid directions, instructions and recommendations of government and our amazing health professionals, recognizing that such are only in our own best interests. To those who have or may yet notice symptoms of the virus, initiating the isolation procedure and immediately reporting to appropriate authorities is both the humane and right thing to do. To other citizens who are free of such, precautionary safety procedures should be strictly adhered to. Safety first, should be the mantra till this period subsists. If you know anyone going through this presently, send them a wish/message of support, call them with your phone-it’s the least you can do. The richest and strongest of us must help the weakest and most vulnerable, this is not the time to self-preserve and blindly accumulate wealth, it is the moment to touch lives and help other people. We are all perfect pieces in the puzzle of the universe and we must play our part to make things right.

Everyone should know that this is not the time to spread, share and blindly circulate unfounded, untrue and misguided panic messages and video clips on Social Media about the virus and its effects, we must share health & safety tips and encourage ourselves with positive news, confident in the competence of our health workers, and enjoying the fellowship of family and the communion of loved ones. We must reassure our children in our words and our actions during this period that while this is a serious challenge, our health workers are up to the task, vaccines will soon be discovered and we must teach them to observe the same tips we are told to follow to protect themselves and report symptoms as soon as possible.

Conclusion

We must ensure that the positive wave of the infection of human solidarity must be greater than the negative storm of the infection of the virus. We must stay optimistic, hopeful and determined to brave this period. As we prepare for war, we must also ready ourselves for when it will be over, so we can seize the moment when it arrives. Businesses should not be trigger-happy to pull the employment plug from employees, we must fight this together. We must continue to encourage, support, applaud and trust our amazing health professionals who are in the forefront of this health emergency, government must prioritise policies that will help citizens live better and survive comfortably during this period instead of more draconian legislations-except where no other choice exists. Our Scientists and Experts must all move purposefully in the direction of critical clinical research and testing to discover vaccines that work and cure that will be permanent.

For every great crisis the world has faced, humanity has been depleted, nations have suffered, people have emerged with life-long scars and loved ones forever lost, but despite this, we have returned each time with renewed spirits, hopeful hearts and a resolve to re-build.

This period soon will pass, humanity will survive again. Let us pray.

 

PETER-COLE ONELE

Peter-Cole has a law degree from the University of Ibadan and attended the Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus. He’s passionate about effective and life-changing policies, laws, regulations, sustainable development goals advocacy and cutting-edge research. He can be reached via email at opconele@gmail.com.

 

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