I admit, when news about Coronavirus first broke, I didn’t really feel concerned because it seemed so far away in China. Not that I don’t care about our Chinese brothers and sisters o, but you get the point. There was no panic, no need for that mindless race to the bathroom to wash hands. Then suddenly, we heard it had entered Naija. Fam!
The Whatsapp broadcasts, emails, social media posts all started pouring in. Mothers and church members and work colleagues were all interested in sharing statistics about the virus, as well as how to combat it. As if the threat of disease and death were not enough, people started arguing about whose facts was right and whose fact was wrong.
‘Wear a mask! No, don’t wear a mask!’
‘Avoid people. No, just avoid people with a cold.’
‘It has killed tons of people! No, it actually hasn’t killed that many people.’
Outside was like the apocalypse. Attendants at supermarkets wore gloves and masks. People innocently sneezing were regarded suspiciously. My mother-in-law called, surprised my husband and I were out of the house, and lamenting about how she was avoiding church and how bad the situation could become, warning us to be careful. What if the coronavirus carrier escaped the hospital and it spread and we’re unable to contain it?
Basically, the fear was REAL!
Now, none of this had happened and it was at that point I realised that many times the fear of a thing is worse than the actual thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way trying to downplay the threat of the virus but sometimes the fear and panic of what could happen can literally paralyse you.
My point is, how practical is it to live in fear after you have done everything you are reasonably supposed to do? For instance, I have the option of working from home and avoiding human interaction, but my husband does not. Should I then avoid him when he comes home from work? That’s sort of impossible.
I just make sure he washes his hands thoroughly as soon as he gets in. I also make sure I wash my hands regularly. When I go out, I use my hand sanitiser regularly and wash my hands when I can. If your immune system is strong you’ll most likely be able to fight the virus, if you’re in doubt, boost it. Take more fruit and vegetables or smoothies if you like, than you usually do. Ideally, this should be a lifestyle but I’m being realistic, it’s not the reality for all of us.
There is a good reason for caution, no doubt. But caution should make you practise safety and sanitation. Anything else is paranoia and it isn’t always productive. So take care of yourself and be aware when you’re out of the house, but don’t be driven by panic or fear. Don’t let the virus do more harm to you in theory than in real life.