Photo: Orna Wachman @Pixabay
Dateline: Eixample, Barcelona, Spain
By Chiogor Constance Ikokwu
We live in interesting and uncertain times. For the first time in a long while, the world is coming to its knees. First, the Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China late 2019. The second wave blew and is still blowing in Europe beginning early this year. It seems the third phase may be Africa following news that infected people from Europe have been landing on the continent with the disease, unknowingly.
Globally, thousands of people have died, with older people being more at risk. Many have also survived. The epicentres for now are China, Italy, Spain, France, USA, United Kingdom and Germany. All these countries have reported more than two thousand cases each.
As I write, we’re in lockdown in Barcelona. What started as a two-week stay-at-home order has been extended to one month. Indications are that the lockdown may continue. It depends on progress made by the end of April.
There’s panic worldwide, with an explosion of information both real and fake on social media. Being a massive information consumer and active social media user in these times, I’ve noticed a lot of things. My article this week is therefore geared towards these observations.
Here are four things I believe we should not do under the present circumstances:
- Spreading Fake News: In these times of information overload, be careful what you’re posting and forwarding, particularly on social media. A substantial amount of these things are fake or unreliable. This is common in WhatsApp groups and Facebook. The number of videos and messages going round on these platforms is unbelievable!! It seems the lockdown is aggravating social media addiction. Some people just stay on there all day, posting and reposting without fact-checking. I have been privy to some conversations on WhatsApp. What is going on there is mind- blowing. Let’s be responsible. The right information can be sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) website.
- Resisting Lockdown: In my country Nigeria, I hear people are resisting the lockdown, which is beginning to take effect this week. Some argue that many would be unable to survive without their daily hustle. That’s a valid point. Those at the very bottom of the ladder may find it difficult to eat without daily income. But if you die from the disease, there won’t be any talk about eating. On this point, I learned that the Lagos State government is promising food baskets for families. It was also commendable that quite a number of wealthy Nigerians and corporates making huge donations in cash and kind. Some gave hundreds of beds for isolation centers, cartons of food, testing kits, etc. That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s activate our old village system where one person’s business is everybody’s business. I also heard village heads in my home state are coordinating contributions from people to be made available at designated points for collection. That’s the way to go! But restriction on movement is for our good. At least, it seems so. Let’s work together to beat this!
- Leave Anxiety at the Door: If there’s a feeling we do not need in the midst of this pandemic, it’s anxiety. Being anxious opens the door to physical and emotional drain. It doesn’t help anybody. It’s more productive and rewarding to be calm and collected. Many worry about tomorrow, what the future will bring as a result of Covid-19, for example, losing jobs, going bankrupt, etc. We can’t control anything as it were. Is the world going to be the same after this? NOPE. But if we’re able to get out alive, we can figure out the rest in due course. So stay focused on remaining healthy.
- Obsession About Covid-19: This last point is closely related to the third. Every conversation today is about Coronavirus. Some are so obsessed with what is going on, to an extent that is unhealthy. Yes, we need to be informed to take good care of ourselves. However, overly obsessing about Covid-19 may lead to depression. We need to take it one day at a time. Ask yourself, what can I do immediately? First of all, stay at home. I read about some guys running around in Abuja, Nigeria, going to the office of the Center for Disease Control to see if they can be tested. They had no symptoms. They just wanted to confirm whether the office was effective. What? Child, stay at home. If you have the disease, you spread if further by being out and about. Secondly, if you have flu-like symptoms, call a doctor first. If you have underlying health conditions, you might want to get checked in a hospital because the risk factor is more. If you do go out to buy essential commodities, keep a distance from people. Wash and sanitize your hands once you return home. If possible, wear gloves and a mask when outside.
Please share your thoughts on other things to avoid. Happy lockdown week!