Dr Imtiaz Sooliman: 9 simple ways to fight Covid-19 Delta variant
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Durban - As South Africa battles a third wave of Covid-19 infections and the government enacts tighter restrictions on the movement of people to curb the spread, there are growing calls for people to take personal responsibility.
Among the organisations that are on the front line of the pandemic and have seen the effects Covid-19 has had on communities and people is humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers.
Founder Imitiaz Sooliman said that with hospital beds, including high care and ICU in private and public hospitals filling up, the medical supply of oxygen and human resources were under strain.
“’Prevention is better than cure’ is very real now more than ever in our history, medically speaking,” Sooliman said.
“Responsible citizenry among all 60 million in this country is key. The ’sacrifice’ being requested is minimal and temporary for a sublime purpose – the saving of life which, in essence, could be that of your spouse, child, parent, neighbour, teacher, health-care worker or fellow South African.
“The greater the compliance, the faster the wave passes as the virus loses a "transport" medium and attachment to a new host to mutate further. The more it mutates, the greater the need to modify vaccines,” he said.
Sooliman said there were 9 simple applications to saving a life:
1. Avoid travel to and from the epicentre (or any infected area) which is currently Gauteng, except for emergencies.
2. Halt all family visits, baby showers, parties and weddings, irrespective whether five or 50 people are in attendance. Just postpone, it's temporary.
3. Avoid alcohol or any intoxicating substance that will impair judgement or mindfulness. It takes a small "slip" and Delta will strike with devastating effect. The strain is highly virulent, rapidly transmissible and deadly, targeting all ages including babies, the superfit, the vaccinated and even those who have no co-morbidities.
4. Shop responsibly, keeping a safe distance, avoid congestion, wear a mask and sanitise. Mask must be worn at all times in public. Remove your mask only when you are back home and have washed your hands thoroughly.
5. Ensure good ventilation in your home, car and workplace.
6. Restaurants and eating places are to ensure good ventilation or encourage outdoor dining. Livelihoods are dependent on economic activity. This can be achieved responsibly.
7. Health-care workers need to take precautions in congested and poorly ventilated tea and rest facilities at hospitals.
8. Visiting bereaved families must be restricted, so too the numbers of people at funerals. This behaviour is foreign to our nature as compassionate, family-oriented social beings, but ironically it is compassionate in its own right as it protects other family members from succumbing. We've experienced situations where up to 18 family members were infected in one house and where three or more family members, including couples, passed on within days of one another. Preventing heartache and grief, largely and practically, is in our own hands through responsible citizenry.
9. Be mindful of the "Peltzman Effect". It explains that individuals are more likely to take greater risks when they feel protected. In the case of vaccination, it is the mistaken belief that having been vaccinated protects the individual against getting infected and prevents transmission to others. All precautions are the same as for the non-vaccinated.
Sooliman said statistics released by the Department of Health were far worse as a large number of people refuse to be tested.
“These are related to economic challenges, stigma, and anxiety associated with a positive result. Laboratory ’hopping’ is a new phenomenon among those who test positive, repeating it at other facilities in the hope that the initial result was incorrect.
“Denial, disbelief, whatever emotions, we need to be responsible and inform those that we were in contact with about our positive status. Isolation, whilst awaiting results and 10 day quarantine whilst healing is ’compassionate’ to fellow beings.”
“These are simple processes to apply. It’s not for a long time, is life saving and what all scriptures would expect from us: ’He who saved one life, saved the whole of mankind’. Any individual, religious teacher or health-care worker who encourages flouting rules of prevention and preservation is not acting in the interests of humanity.”