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Let’s fight coronavirus; we are in this together

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CAROLYN OCHICHI

By CAROLYN OCHICHI
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The novel coronavirus pandemic requires all our collective missiles to attack it — sociocultural, medical, economic, political, behavioural and even spiritual.

That is why Saturday’s inter-religious national prayer day achieved a lot in comforting an increasing paranoid nation.

But the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) signature recommendation: the best defence against Covid-19 is frequent hand-washing.

That way, you eliminate any virus on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

Importantly, obey the experts. As Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe keeps repeating, this disease is not a joke. Neither is it a myth.

But are we really serious about these guidelines? Maybe a morbid example about the Spanish Flu can make us understand the gravity of the situation.

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On September 28, 1918, in Philadelphia, a grand march organised to raise money for the World War I effort had the usual Americans patriotic zeal: more than 200,000 people turned out.

Coincidentally, there was an outbreak of Spanish Flu in Europe and Asia. And what was the American trigger? The returning soldiers from the European war front!

By October 1, there were 635 new cases in the state. In six months, about 16,000 had died and there were more than half a million cases.

This shows the benefit of cancelling mass gatherings and employing social-distancing measures during pandemics.

Covid-19 also comes with underlying paradigm shifts. To quote Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.”

What we have always called the “norm” will never be the same again, and, ideally, should not.

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Covid-19 is introducing, particularly to us Kenyans, new concepts such as social distance and self-quarantine as much as reinforcing old concepts, like handwashing with soap, something epidemiologists have repeated ad nauseam to clients.

The paradigm shift is also being forcibly introduced to our whole belief system — from territorial defence to humanity defence.

For instance, I dare say, if health and vitality would be the centrepiece of our collective ethos, then even our Head of State would not be referred to as Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces but Protector-in-Chief of the Kenyan People.

The instruments of power that are passed down successive presidents ought to be a stethoscope rather than a sword — a symbolic yet powerful positioning of health and well-being.

China has announced a Sh8.3 billion investment in a centre for disease control (CDC). That’s a fraction of Kenya’s defence spending (Sh121 billion) — which does not seem to make sense now that the coronavirus cannot be shot or bombed.

More US soldiers died of Spanish Flu than they did in WWI combat. Lastly, Covid-19 has proven true the biblical dictum that you are your brother’s keeper.

World over, scientists are looking for a cure and vaccine; it matters not where from. We have finally realised that, as in my favourite movie, “High School Musical”:

“We’re all in this together;

Once we know, that we are

We’re all in this together,

And it shows, when we stand

Make our dreams come true.”

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‘This is how sponyo’s run the economy’ Andrew Kibe shares

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In this time when people have been forced to stay home, the economy is suffering and Kibe says groups of people who have proved they run the economy, are sponsors.

Others refer to them as blessers because well, everyone they meet in their philanthropic mood will be blessed with some money.

Kibe broke it down saying,

A Sponyo runs the economy. He goes to the bar, he gets a hair cut as his car is being washed and he has ordered meat in the bar. So he calls a girl and when she is coming she is using a taxi app and he will pay. She comes in and drinks and eats, money has been poured then depending on their usual happenings, they get a hotel or a lodging. He will pay for it but he has to bribe the receptionist so that he doesn’t sign in and then he has to tip the watchman in case he comes back there he will be given special treatment.

Imagine all these people who have made money from one guy. Doesn’t this man run the economy in these service provider’s businesses? And they are always very philanthropic.

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‘Do you have the key to his house?’ Kibe on the only qualification to be a girlfriend

Kamene added that even the chic he spent time with on that day also got her cut.

And also do not forget that chich will leave there with nothing less than 3500, 4000. And you forgot all these people who have provided a service depend on tips so he will have to tip each and every one of them.

Now that we are practicing social distancing, Kibe says the service providers who add up to Kenyans economy are suffering because now the sponsor has been forced to stay with his first lady in the house.

Read more here.

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‘Please release me’ R Kelly begs court from jail over coronavirus fear

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R Kelly
R Kelly: Courtesy/Reuters

Celebrated RnB artiste R Kelly has asked a judge to free him from federal jail in Chicago, as he awaits trial on child pornography and other charges.

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A court filing by his lawyers claims the spread of the new coronavirus behind bars puts Kelly’s life at risk.

He faces several dozen counts of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.

From sexual assault to heading a racketeering scheme aimed at supplying him with girls. Kelly has denied ever abusing anyone.

According to the court filing “The health risk to Mr. Kelly, because of his age and existing health issues”.

Especially considering the conditions at the MCC, necessitates his release on bail,”.

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COVID-19: Essential services that are exposing you to the virus

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Salons and barbers have established strict rules for their clients to avoid contracting the disease (Shutterstock)

Kenyans are sitting on a time bomb unless some weak links in the fight against coronavirus are quickly fixed.

ALSO READ: Hygiene practices to teach your kids

The difficult fight against the virus is made more complicated and riskier within the crowded jails, where hand-washing with soap and exercising social distancing in the relatively small blocks and cells are still a mirage and may cost the country dearly. 

Breeding grounds

An estimated 1.3 million boda boda riders have decided to cast away the helmets meant for their passengers for fear of spreading the coronavirus.

The boda boda operators said they are torn between risking infecting their customers by offering them unsanitised helmets or breaking the traffic law which insists that every passenger must wear the protective gear. “There is no way we can sanitise a helmet,” Kenneth Onyango, the secretary general of the Boda Boda Association of Kenya explained.

The alternative, Onyango said, was for regular boda boda customers to buy their own helmets.

Boda boda and tuk tuks are some of the places you risk contracting the virus

Meanwhile, some salons and barbers have established strict rules for their clients to avoid contracting the disease.

Mobile money

ALSO READ: My word: Can history help us through uncertain times?

“I am only dealing with clients I know. I live in an area where there have been fears of coronavirus,” Mirriam Muthoni said.

The beautician who runs a salon in Utawala, Nairobi, now insists to be paid through mobile money transfer.

When a client insists on paying cash, she has resorted to using methylated spirit to sanitise the paper currency before touching with her gloved hands.

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And while the government has directed that the tuku tuk public service operators carry only one passenger, a spot check in parts of the city and it’s environs has shown that the interior of this vehicle had no adequate space to actualise social distancing.

Kenneth Ogoi, who operates in Athi River, said while he is uncomfortable with his clients breathing down his neck, there is nothing he can do.

“I am not comfortable with the space inside a tuk tuk in these times of the coronavirus. But at the end of the day, I must earn a living,” he said.

But even as Kenyans scramble for alcohol-based sanitisers to keep the virus at bay, Dr Susan Kaguchia told listeners in a vernacular radio station to be extremely careful not to apply them in their kitchens.

ALSO READ: Creative ways to stay in touch with friends during social distancing

Most sanitisers in the market, Kaguchia said, are highly explosive and could easily catch flames if applied near a fire.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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