Friday, 29th September 2023

COVID-19 and your individual social responsibility

By Anne-Funmi Fatusin
21 January 2021   |   3:03 am
It is rather sad that as we began in 2021, we started hearing about the demise of loved ones, friends, relatives, colleagues, etc. One cannot but think that part of the losses

It is rather sad that as we began in 2021, we started hearing about the demise of loved ones, friends, relatives, colleagues, etc. One cannot but think that part of the losses, particularly in Nigeria, is largely due to disobedience – brazen violation of COVID Guidelines. Some people think they would rather die if they stopped going to social events instead of staying at home. Unfortunately, that is what has been happening lately.

The new COVID-19 variant is spreading fast and putting people’s lives at risk, and consequently having a huge impact on healthcare facilities – worldwide. In a place like Nigeria, which has limited healthcare facilities particularly the much-needed oxygen for COVID-19 patients, the best approach to adopt by Nigerians, is simply to adhere to COVID-19 protocols – stay at home (if possible), wash your hands and maintain the 2metre social distancing.

Some Nigerian women would complete their attire with a piece of the fabric they are wearing and make a face mask. Dress to kill or dress to death. People attend parties they are not even invited to, just because they have to ‘belong or mark the register’, especially if it is high society. Why does the so-called elite behave like illiterates? It is just so baffling that some people think they can never contract COVID. NO ONE IS IMMUNE FROM COVID!

The worst aspect of this dreaded pandemic is asymptomatic people(without showing the obvious symptoms of COVID) who socialise with several people without knowing they have it. Men shake hands at parties and hug. Similarly, the women blow kisses and hug each other. What a senseless display of ignorance! It is the multiplier effect. The asymptomatic people unknowingly spread the dreaded COVID.

At parties, the regular round tables would have 8 – 12 guests, depending on the size. One would see extra 6 – 8 guests squeezing at a table because they want to sit with their friends. Now that there is COVID, there should be about 3 people per table so as to maintain the 2 metres social (‘physical’ is a more appropriate word to use for emphasis) distancing.

People are just too crazy about parties. Some have contracted COVID through surprise birthdays – inviting Saxophonists to their homes to play. How would one be able to ascertain that the musicians are COVID-free? The masks would have to be taken off when they want to play the Saxophone. If a Saxophonist has COVID, there would have been droplets of COVID from his mouth. When are we going to start acting responsibly? Some people thrive on chaos. During this pandemic, some people have made money by manufacturing face masks, hand sanitizers, etc. whilst multinational organisations have made a fortune by creating several applications and video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc. If people are so desperate for parties, why not organise Zoom parties and be creative? This is the time to be creative and innovative – not be a victim of COVID! Take up a different hobby – photography, cooking, writing, blogging, singing, learn to play a musical instrument, exercise more to lose the weight, organise discussion programmes, etc. Join several discussion groups on WhatsApp,
Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Taking up hobbies are good for mental well-being.

There is a limit to what any government can do. Each person will have to be responsible for his or her own actions and if not, think about the safety of others around you.

It is good that the Lagos State Government has now embarked on massive publicity campaign warning people about the importance of adhering to COVID Protocols which includes short films/skits. The Federal government should make it mandatory to shut down event centres and anyone found violating the rules – whether the party organiser or owners of the event centre – must receive stiff penalties. Some people try to circumvent hosting parties at event centres and instead, in their homes – that is also an invitation to COVID for no one can vouch for anyone’s COVID status. Weddings and other occasions must be postponed. People should realise that a wedding registry where only a few people can attend and reasonably maintain social distancing, is more recognised than an ostentatious wedding. Aso-ebis can be worn at any time – once there is life. All social events must be postponed until after the pandemic.

Similarly, Worship Centres (Churches/Mosques etc) must not be open except congregants/
worshippers book online. Only a few should be allowed in for special occasions and if their names are not found in the register for the service of the day, they must be refused entry. Face masks must be worn and if possible, the Worship Centres must have a device that checks the temperature of the congregants. The 2 metres distancing must be observed. No holy communion where wine is given to drink. Clerics must be responsible in their sermons. It is the heart the Creator needs not the money. It is true that people go to church/mosque to get motivated and socialise but COVID has no regard for anyone. Quoting scriptures or binding and loosing will NOT save lives. It is unbelievable to see on social media that churches are still holding full services with congregants wearing ‘chin masks’. Congregants lower their face masks to their chins, ignorantly believing that they are complying with the guidelines. How ignorant can one be? No social distancing at all. The same Clerics preaching that there is no COVID and encouraging their congregants to continue attending services would be those in authority for conducting the Fidau or Service of Songs for the departed who failed to observe the protocols and subsequently lost their lives. ACT RESPONSIBLY.

The don’t-you-know-who-I-am attitude has cost some high profile individuals their lives. One cannot but express disdain for the so-called Legislators or those supposed to be role models, hosting lavish parties during this pandemic – indirectly putting other people’s lives at risk to COVID. In the words attributed to the Lagos State Attorney General – Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, “prosecution should necessarily be the concomitant consequence of a breach including psychiatric evaluation of suicidal persons who do not desire to die alone by hosting this appallingly lavish parties but take along irresponsible deviant persons as themselves in the suicide mission”. One could not agree more with this assertion. No one should be above the law or treated differently.

There should be Community Officers on patrol to ensure everyone is complying with the guidelines. It has been said that the less privileged seem to escape COVID. One can only think that these are people whose favourite ‘beverage’ in the local herbal drink (Agbo, in Yoruba dialect) they have been drinking from childhood and constantly soaking in the sun which is Vitamin D. On the other hand, the so-called elite is always in air-conditioned car and rooms, so the majority lack Vitamin D. It is high time to renew the mindset on COVID. It is no longer BAU (business as usual). If COVID meets an underlying health issue or the immune system is low, it may lead to death. Some are lucky whilst others are not. Do not be a statistic. APPLY WISDOM. Life has no duplicate. No dress rehearsal.

May God grant the departed eternal rest.

It is your individual social responsibility to be covid-19 compliant. Keep well & stay safe
Fatusin is a freelance writer, inspirational speaker, compere, social commentator based in the United Kingdom.

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