Day 245 – Winde’s Warning

I mentioned some time ago on here that we were likely to see another peak in Covid-19 numbers sometime soon.

And so our next peak – should it not all go off in the next few weeks from PE – will likely be in January. Because people are not going to behave themselves sensibly over the holiday period.

Yes, there was always a hope that this wouldn’t be until early next year, but it now seems clear that is not going to be the case. Western Cape Premier Alan Winde last night issued a warning of “an established COVID-19 resurgence in the Western Cape”, based on the latest figures. And there were some scary numbers in there:

A resurgence is when the number of active cases increase, week-on-week, by more than 20%. Over the last week alone, the province has witnessed a 52.1% jump in new cases.

I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that that’s a little more than 20%.

Last week, we issued a hotspot alert for the Garden Route, following an alarming growth of cases in the area. This surge has continued to gain momentum and there are now more active cases in George and Knysna sub-districts than at any point in the pandemic to date.

Just in time for the beginning of the school holidays and the annual trip down to Plett. Probably safer just to stay at home.

The City of Cape Town is following a similar trajectory to this region and looks to be about 10-14 days behind.

Or… er… not.

…since the start of November, COVID-19 hospitalisations across the province have increased by 63%. Critical care admissions have increased by 75% since the start of November. This is particularly concerning as an admission to a critical care unit is an indication of severe illness that might lead to death.

This is worrying, especially for a virus that iS jUsT LiKe ThE fLu! And we’re only just starting again.

And then the truth bomb:

We also cannot afford a lockdown again, as is being witnessed in many European countries right now. Our economy simply cannot afford it. A lockdown would kill jobs and cause our humanitarian disaster to worsen. This will also cost lives in the future.

And he’s right: it’s surely just not possible. We were on our knees economically BTV, we’re in a far worse position now, and a further escalation of the lockdown would be utterly catastrophic.

As, some might argue, would be no further escalation of the lockdown.

We’re right back walking that tightrope and knowing that whichever way we fall, the consequences are not going to be pretty. But even staying on the rope isn’t going to help.

The sad fact is that Alan – and the rest of us – are now solely reliant on the actions of the general public to prevent this spiralling completely out of control. And the general public have already shown themselves to be completely useless at taking any sort of prevention measures. If anything, when you look around, you see fewer people with masks on, fewer people with masks on properly, fewer people even taking masks out with them: people think that we’re done with Covid.
We’re not done yet. Not by a long way.

And so I’ll put Alan’s plea to us all on here, fully aware (as I’m sure he was when writing it) that it will be ignored by the vast majority of people and that we’re not even delaying – let alone preventing – the apparently inevitable second wave.

The virus is not gone but will be with us over the holidays and beyond. Therefore, we need to remain safe and protect each other by:
– Wearing a mask properly is of life-saving importance. You must wear your masks at all times when outside of your home. There can be no exceptions.
– You must avoid crowded and confined spaces at all costs. This is where super-spreader events take place.
– You must urgently reconsider hosting all non-essential gatherings of people this year, especially indoor gatherings with poor ventilation.
– You must ensure there is good ventilation at all times whenever you’re in public. The virus droplets spread by air in confined spaces, and so fresher is better.
– You must wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use sanitiser.
– If you feel sick, you should not leave your home unless it is to get healthcare treatment. You must first call our hotline on 080 928 4102 for guidance on the next steps.
– You should also not visit someone who is sick, and find other ways to provide support, like delivering a meal to a neighbour’s doorstep.

And then that last line:

Every single resident should assume that COVID-19 is everywhere they go and take all the necessary precautions at every point along their journey.

This is exactly how we look after ourselves in a microbiology lab. It’s a policy that has meant that I have had exactly zero Laboratory Acquired Infections in 25+ years of lab work, despite playing with literally billions and billions of bacteria and viruses each and every day.

If you follow those guidelines above; if you treat everything as being a potential source of Covid-19 for the next couple of months and behave accordingly, you have every chance of being safe.
If you teach your family to do the same too: they have every chance of being safe.

The more people and families that do this, the greater the effect.

And I know I’m shouting into the void, but these really are simple, straightforward steps to take. There’s nothing difficult or taxing here. Just common sense. It costs nothing, and it’s proven to protect you and your loved ones. And absolute no-brainer.

I’m every bit as tired of Coronavirus as you are, and I like germs. This festive season is going to be really crap for a lot of people, including us down here in SA. But there is an end in sight if we can just pull through the next few months.

Please, let’s not fuck this up.