By Nii B. Andrews.
It has been absolutely quiet (and lonely) in my lair for four weeks; the roommate is away and the television has not been switched on for six months.
There has been a lockdown for 14 days and my trusted “gardien” occasionally patrols the yard with his machete – since quite unusual in this part of the world, my perimeter wall is not more than a meter high and there is no gate….”the hosts of GOD encamp around…..”
I let him be; to each his own.
Elsewhere as COVID-19 rages – in Asia, Europe and the US, a lively public debate is ongoing.
It involves “the trade-offs between a trashed economy and public health, the relative virtues of centralised or regionalised health systems, the exposed fragilities of globalisation, the future of the EU, populism, the inherent advantage of authoritarianism.”
At the same time Libertarian governments are curtailing freedoms more drastically than wartime leaders and the conservative proponents of austerity are approving trillions of dollars for healthcare and emergency spending.
Those who shunned and warned against big government are being forced into massive interventions.
But right outside my lair, nothing edifying is occurring. The health system creaks along with virtually NOTHING.
There is simply the continuous petty bickering and banal partisan arguments by those without the didactic breadth or depth to enable then offer any meaningful suggestions at a family meeting let alone make decisions for almost 30 million souls facing a pandemic.
The more things change, the more they remain the same thus ensuring that after almost 30 years of democratic rule, we do not have the rudimentary tools to mount a credible defence against a global flu threat.
Even worse, other epidemics of almost biblical proportions continue to assail us and have been completely ignored by the custodians of our public purse.
At this time in ghana, there is a raging annual epidemic of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) with a mortality of 15% when treated and 50% when left untreated. Yes, there is treatment for it AND A VACCINE.
But nooooo, the party apparatchiks, and acolytes will rather prepare to feed at the trough with USD 500 per night quarantine, murky subsidies, loan rescheduling antics and all primed with dodgy theology in official statements from the floor of parliament.
Outlier statements, grossly inaccurate assertions and frankly dumb remarks are sometimes heard from high state echelons; they keep faking it to make it.
So foreign donations of antibiotics and intravenous fluids are being used to fight the CSM epidemic.
Ditto for the COVID-19, a flu virus; a plane load of equipment from China. And our presidential jet sent off on an urgent errand!
Are we aware that worldwide, about 250 – 640 000 people die from the flu every year? Over 28 000 people died in the UK during the 2014 -5 flu season.
Are we aware that in the US, 9 – 45 million people get the flu every year with 12 – 61 000 deaths giving a consistent mortality rate of between 0.10 – 0.2%?
The Italain national health authority reported that the average age of those who had died from COVID-19 in Italy is 79.5 years and 99% of those who died had prior medical conditions.
University of Bonn researchers tested a randomised sample of 1,000 residents of Gangelt, a town near the Dutch border for COVID-19.
They found that 2% of the population was currently infected and 14% were carrying antibodies and were without symptoms.
All told, something does not add up. And no, we do not do conspiracy theories. We simply stick to the facts and insist that anecdotes do not constitute data.
So we soldier on, fully supportive of social distancing, frequent hand washing with soap, sanitizer use and of course the new veil, now no longer despised in the West but the former detractors fully willing to go buccaneering for it – the face mask.
It will probably become a fashion statement if and when the “bad old days” of unbridled commercialism and vacuous celebrity types return.
“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the former” said Albert Einstein.