HomeOpinion & AnalysisCOVID-19 is coming in waves; we need to prepare for the next

COVID-19 is coming in waves; we need to prepare for the next

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Johannes Marisa
When the government launched the COVID-19 vaccination programme in February this year, the Health and Child Care ministry was optimistic that the country would achieve herd immunity by year-end.

But vaccine hesitancy became the order of the day, with many theories being peddled. But when the third wave hit hard around July, many people rushed to look for the vaccines and the country vaccinated 80 000 people per day.  Today, only about 10 000 people are getting vaccinated daily, a figure which is too small considering that only 18,2% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Only 3,514 million people have at least received one dose of the vaccine in our country. Countries that have scaled up their vaccination campaigns seem to have benefited a lot in terms of morbidity and mortality.

Brazil has vaccinated about 60,1% of its population and it has drastically reduced its incidence over the past days.

Pandemics of this nature need intensive and aggressive public health measures like vaccination.  Problems arise when there is misinformation about such important measures with resultant snubbing of the processes.

That is detrimental to health in general and the country can be in trouble in the long run as attainment of herd immunity becomes elusive. We are facing the fourth wave now if the trend the world over is anything to go by. Many lives were lost before because of shortage of resources, delayed treatment, shortage of admitting space among other reasons. We are lucky that COVID-19 is coming in waves. That alone should give us ample time to prepare. Our hospitals should be fully equipped to deal with COVID-19 patients, drugs should be readily available while oxygen sources should be multiple. Patients, who desaturate, require oxygen and acquiring it at private institutions is very expensive. Today, the world records around half a million new cases daily with daily mortality hovering around 8 000 people. The threat posed by the virus is unprecedented.

USA, Russia, Romania, Ukraine are battling the coronavirus lately despite having lower numbers three months ago. COVID-19 is real and it needs us to remain vigilant for a long time. The waves keep on coming and if we are to be hit again in Zimbabwe, it would be the fourth wave, of which it is imminent if we do not take heed of medical advice. The threat to humanity is real and it is time we realised the gravity of the situation on the ground. We seem far from conquering this calamitous virus that is threatening to wipe the entire world population. We need to remain vigilant.

In essence, COVID-19 seems to be far from complete disappearance and it can be our guest for a long time. It is thus important to note that the following unfortunate things are associated with COVID-19 and everyone should at least have some basic understanding of why the virus is very stubborn. We should not cry foul when we face the calamitous virus soon. We should not blame others when we begin to lose lives yet we were given enough time to protect ourselves through public health measures. Vaccination is key, alas, many people do not take it seriously. It is imperative that the following measures be taken:

The vaccination drive should move like a whirlwind with the newly-introduced age group of between 16-17 year-olds being given special consideration. We need everyone to co-operate with government in order to vaccinate as many people as possible. For the nation to reach 60% vaccination by year-end it means covering 42% of the population in 6 weeks. It is, indeed, a mountain to climb.

Our health facilities should be urgently upgraded in order to meet the requirements of COVID-19 patients.We should not cry foul when the attack comes yet we had ample time to acquire enough oxygen, drugs, beds. Staff should be trained adequately to deal with COVID-19 so that mortality is reduced. Motivation of staff should be a priority to avoid unfortunate developments such as strikes or work boycotts. COVID-19 is even hitting harder, with patients with comorbidities like diabetes being thrown into the frying pan and complicating quickly.This is bad, indeed, and the threat to humanity is unprecedented. Media should continue disseminating information to the masses so that complacency is eliminated. People should know that the virus is still a menace and has potential to kill many people.The unfortunate thing is that the waves ahead may be worse than the previous ones because of mutant strains which will be part of the basket. That alone poses a serious threat to humankind as there may be serious drug resistance, high transmission, high morbidity,  high mortality.The fourth wave has already hit many countries.

Abandoning public health measures is at your own peril since the war is still on. Africa is currently enjoying some respite in terms of COVID-19 attack. That should give us ample time to prepare for the next possible attack. We are basking in health glory today because our astute medical practitioners stood their ground to defend the nation against the merciless virus. Thumps up to our dedicated health workforce! Despite numerous challenges pertaining to working conditions, the staff continued to go to work to save the nation.

People should realise that COVID-19 may have long-term complications, some of them life-threatening. There are patients who developed clots even 90 days after having an acute attack of COVID-19. Many have developed long-term COVID-19, a condition that sees someone suffer from COVID-19 effects for more than 30 days. COVID-19 can cause such misery. We ought to treat it with caution.

The fourth wave is already on its way and people should know that before year-end, we will be  under attack again. Let us do everything possible to keep the virus in check. COVID-19 is very scary. Government has lately introduced vaccination to the 16-17-year age groups which will see many schoolchildren getting the jab.

COVID-19 is attacking us left, right and centre and we are in the midst of losing more people in the world. The end seems to be far as the world faces multiple waves of the virus. What we should be accustomed to is that the coronavirus may linger among us for quite a long time and it should not be a surprise if the following three years will see us in a more precarious position than what we are today.  This is the time we should be collaborating with all stakeholders in order to bring health to the people and one such important measure is vaccination. It is quite absurd that there are many people who are still at the forefront of disinformation and misinformation concerning vaccines yet many people are still losing family members due to COVID-19. Vaccination does not mean one will not suffer from the virus anymore, no, it means you may withstand complications since your body has been exposed to the protein before.

Just remember that COVID-19 is still roaming around hence the need to remain alert. Do not slacken your belt lest you perish. Report symptoms early such as sore throat, headache,  fever, loss of appetite,  joint pains, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell. Get your COVID-19 vaccine now.

Get protected!

 

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