Everyone doing their part to flatten the virus curve

Wednesday April 1 2020

A taxi driver wears a face mask and gloves as

A taxi driver wears a face mask and gloves as he drives down Times Square on March 26, 2020 in New York City. PHOTO | EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ | AFP 

JOYCE K. MWANGI
By JOYCE K. MWANGI
More by this Author

Working from home is challenging. I have to report my productivity at the end of each week. This has given me a lot of anxiety because I am working harder than when I'm in the office where I just have to meet deadlines.

I feel closed in and alone, and anxiety is beginning to set in. To make matters worse, no one knows how long we will be working from home in order to flatten the coronavirus curve.

I first heard of flattening the curve on March 18. The Director-General of the World Health Organisation used the term at a media briefing to explain that everyone has a role in preventing the steep rise in new infections.

We have been asked to practice social-distancing, which may slow the spread and health systems will not be overwhelmed.

States and communities would also have time to produce the required equipment for medical workers and develop community coping strategies. Meanwhile, all schools, restaurants and social places around me are closed.

As I work from home, some of my friends are struggling to cope with work and children who have to stay home and learn remotely. These parents are wondering how they will teach their children subjects that they themselves don’t understand.

Advertisement

Some non-profits have developed learning tools to help children learn remotely, equipping them with a laptop and a Wi-Fi.

The US government is doing its part to make life easier for citizens. Student loan payments have been suspended. The US Tax Day deadline has been pushed back.

Many private companies are stepping in to assist. I also understand there may be a stimulus package to taxpayers and even an extension of unemployment benefits.

The emotional and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on people in the diaspora is huge. There is a wave of unemployment. Many immigrants are losing their businesses.

Those who operate Uber taxis have stopped working for fear of catching the virus. We are wondering if those without legal status will receive government relief if they lose their businesses, jobs or get sick.

We are affected by social distancing. We cannot visit our friends and no one can visit us. One feels very isolated. It’s like a home imposed prison.

 We wonder when we will travel again to visit our family. My mother is worried about my welfare. She called me and gave me her home remedy for coronavirus. She made me promise her that I would protect myself from catching the virus, and take care in case I get sick. Her remedy is the African traditional treatment for common colds. My mother believes that it works.

I will continue to keep my distance in the coming weeks. I have to learn to depend on myself and to support and connect with others in different ways. We have to pay attention to what the health authorities say in order to protect ourselves and others.

For those who are not yet as affected as we are, this is the time for increased collaboration among different sectors. Non-profits and government agencies as well as private companies can develop strategies for the affected and the infected.

How can children learn remotely from TV and radio programmes? How can we begin to make medical supplies, surgical masks and ventilators before it’s too late? How could we develop the coronavirus vaccine?