We need everyone onboard

THE Covid-19 coronavirus takes the world by storm and I confess that I am concerned. The fatality rates seem to be targeting the elderly, and I have two ageing parents, ageing aunts and uncles, as well as elderly clients, all of whom I have exposure to.

I initially intended to write about how we should invest in health and fitness throughout our lives, so that our immunity is always at its peak, but I realise that this coronavirus is a lot more insidious and having a great immunity isn’t the answer to everything.

A Newsweek piece on March 11, entitled, “Young and Unafraid of the Coronavirus Pandemic? Good For You. Now Stop Killing People”, was what changed my mind about what I should write.

In that article, a doctor stated, “Fatality is the wrong yardstick. Catching the virus can mess up your life in many, many more ways than just straight-up killing you ... . How about needing four months of physical therapy before you even feel human again. Or getting scar tissue in your lungs and having your activity level restricted for the rest of your life. Not to mention having every chance of catching another bug in hospital, while you’re being treated or waiting to get checked with an immune system distracted even by the false alarm of an ordinary flu. No trip is worth this risk.”

At first, I was torn. I realise the advent of social media and clickbait news titles may sensationalise this pandemic more than necessary. Meanwhile, other yoga teachers and energy workers were talking about “surrounding yourself with a white light of protection” and “take precautions but don’t give in to paranoia”. So yes, I did realise this, much like the religious are saying how God will look after his people.

On the other hand, I was being exposed to the science and what I saw some doctor friends were talking about, whether from the media or on social media. Doctor friends working in contagious disease were posting photos of themselves in four layers of clothes to protect themselves. And on the news, they were talking about trying to level out the upward tangent of contagion, and behaviours that actually contribute to the spread of the disease.

Let’s put it this way, let’s say I went for a lunch with a bunch of friends during this time. We all may not have the virus, but say someone behind us was exposed to Case 26 or Case 33. And that person sneezed. We would be exposed to that virus already.

If authorities were to find out, we would have to go through voluntary quarantine, and everyone to whom we’ve had exposure would have to go through the same as well.

This may be considered paranoid to some, but to my mind, this is a responsible restriction.

Simply put, a news report has stated that “investigations into the close contacts of Case 26 revealed that a cluster of Covid-19 infections with a total of 132 close contacts was linked to patient 33.”

For this reason alone, many health authorities are asking people to restrict their out-of-home activities. We need to curtail our exposure because we don’t know if the person next to us in the LRT, behind us in the supermarket queue or sweating next to us in the gym (as an aside, sweat is supposed to have lesser risk of viral transmission, according to news reports) could be carrying the virus, which is airborne (in case anyone missed this point).

Of course, many of us, me included, rely on dealing with people face-to-face for our living. And these activities cannot be avoided. However, many corporations have asked their employees to work from home. Almost all places have hygiene protocols in place for patrons, employees and the public.

We need the tangent of the upward trend to level out and dip downwards. For that, we need the cooperation of everyone. I am speaking from a place that is not paranoia, neither is it blasé. I wish all readers good safety at this time of pandemic.

Daniel is passionate about fitness, yoga and writing. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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