Navigating the Covid-19 second wave.

by James Kamuye Kataru

As the Covid-19 second wave hits the country, Kenyans should be wary of its devastating effects and check its spread before it ravages our population. If  people do not take this second wave seriously it could mean increased chances for higher infections, deaths and other losses suffocating our health systems and slowing down our economic recovery.

Government efforts to establish restrictions and rules to curb the surge  will fail if citizens’ resist adopting them.  This could lead to making this second wave more potent than the first. A lackluster attitude and not adhering to regulations outlined by the Government through the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization can cause increase in infections and deaths as shown by Government statistics. Some of the rules often not followed include:

  1. Social Distancing: Efforts by health workers, government officers and other persons interested in observing social distancing will fail if they are shunned by the public. From political gatherings, religious functions, market places, shopping malls, public transport, and other places that require social distancing to social functions like funerals, if citizens fail to observe the recommended rules of social distancing the dangers posed by the pandemic may be more severe. 
  • Wearing Face Masks: Just like in social distancing, if people find excuses to not wear face masks this can spread the virus. It is also important to wear the mask the right way and at all times outside your home if around other people not in your household. Masks are not effective if they do not cover both your mouth and your nose. A mask worn on the chin is not effective.
  • Not keen on sanitization:  At the beginning of the pandemic homes were dotted with jerrycans of water and soap placed at entrances for visitors and homeowners to wash their hands before coming in. If people return to only washing their hands before meals or after visiting the toilet they can easily transmit the virus by touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Sanitizers, water jerrycans and soap provided by government and development partners at market centers are critical to provide a place to properly wash hands in public areas.

Adhering to these three are the  best practices  to work towards a Covid-19 free society but adhering to them can lead to, the increase in infections and deaths. We must never forget how we lost some of the senior members of our family and community during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. We cannot become too busy with the daily chores, including farming, trading, schooling, traveling, attending religious functions and weddings without observing the basic common laws of social distancing, wearing face masks and sanitizing at all times.

On November 4th 2020, the president of the Republic of Kenya reviewed the country’s Covid-19 measures aimed at arresting the surging cases. In so doing, the president said he was concerned of the increased infections and deaths which had gone up since August 2020 after the restrictions had been lifted. He urged Kenyans to strictly follow regulations issued by Ministry of Health to stop the pandemic whose positivity rate had shot up four times from September 2020. These new restrictions included;

  1. Suspension of all political gatherings for 60 days.
  2. Closure of all bars by 9.00 p.m.
  3. Review of the night curfew to start at 10.00 p.m. and end at 4.00 a.m.
  4. All civil servants aged above 50 years and those with compromised immunity to work from home.
  5. All government meetings to be held virtually to protect public servants and members of the public visiting offices.
  6. Constituency Development Fund to be used to provide additional and washing points and face masks in preparation for the schools reopening in January 2021

Meanwhile, let’s remind ourselves how to fight the Covid-19 pandemic using the SAWBO Swahili version video on Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus. In the video we learn that the best way to protect ourselves from coronavirus is by following three preventive measures.

  1. Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol completely covering both hands when washing them.

Put enough hand sanitizer on your hands and cover them completely rubbing them together for at least 20 seconds until they feel dry.

Do not wipe off or rinse a hand sanitizer until it completely dries.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

If you do touch your face wash your hands again.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly.

Use approved and recommended disinfectants.

Wash your hands before and after cleaning.

Always cover your nose when sneezing or coughing with a tissue or inside your elbow.

Wash and sanitize your hands as mentioned for at least 20 seconds after coughing or sneezing.

Avoid close contact with others if Covid-19 is spreading in your community.

Risks that can lead to Covid-19 infection.

Being elderly.

Having existing medical conditions such as diabetes.

Having other sicknesses that lower your immunity.

What to do if you are sick.

Stay at home except when you are seeking medical help.

Separate yourself from other people or animals while at home (maintain social distance).

Do not go to work, school or public places.

Avoid using public transport, ride sharing or taxis.

Reasons to seek medical care.

Temperatures of over 38 degrees Celsius or 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Worsening pulse.

Shortness of breath.

Keep social distance if Covid-19 is spreading in your area. Always involve communities in the fight against the coronavirus by insisting on the avoidance of social gatherings.

Note: The information and content in the video (content) should not substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any kind. Michigan State University and SAWBO disclaims responsibility or liability for any loss or injury that may be incurred as a result of the use of any content included in the video. Viewers and users of the video should always consult a physician or other professional for diagnosis, treatment and/or advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the content of this video.  Contents of this blog are the sole opinions of its author.

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