KHANYISWA MOGOTSI

We are about to enter the last two weeks of the year. Before we let our hair down, run to the beach and set aside our turn-up money for New Year’s Eve, we should all remember that COVID-19 is still here.

Over the last three months, a lot of people have gone back to living life in a pre-pandemic way. Although that sounds like heaven (because wow, hand sanitiser stinks!) we are still knee-deep in a pandemic.

There is a lot of talk about a vaccine and being one step closer to finding a solution but that does not mean that we should get comfortable. We still need to follow the assigned regulations.

Just this week, I visited my doctor. While in the waiting room, I noticed that out of the seven people in that waiting with me, I was the only one wearing my mask correctly.

Masks were being worn on chins and necks. Noses were being exposed completely. There was one lady who did not even bother wearing her mask. But that was not the worst part. That woman had her baby, who could not have been less than two-years-old sitting on her lap completely exposed. What is someone in that waiting room had the virus!

When I took a taxi to run errands in the city, I noticed that the taxi driver and other passengers also wore their masks incorrectly. Taxi drivers encounter a number of people daily. Not wearing a mask correctly could be a risk to them and everyone that climbs into their car.

A lot of people have a preconceived notion that the symptoms and effects of the virus are like those of a common cold. Though those maybe some of the symptoms, they are not all the symptoms. And there are people who have the virus but are asymptomatic!

The coronavirus is more than just a cough, sore throat, and fever. It is losing your sense of smell and taste for months and other medical issues. Even after recovering from the virus and dancing the tango with death, (for those with pre-existing health complications such as diabetes and hypertension) one still must take precautions. The science is incomplete on whether those who have already had the virus can catch it again.

Before we host family holiday dinners with family and celebrate with friends, we must not forget the pandemic. For love’s sake, we must keep in mind that just because we ‘know’ someone well, they are not exempt from catching and carrying the virus.

It is not okay to walk into stores without a mask and without sanitising our hands because we see that others are being careless too.

Being in the mood to groove with your friends after a long semester does not mean that we should attend every event happening. We all want to ‘eat our youth’, but living for another day is also important.

We are still living in a pandemic. COVID-19 is sadly taking lives every day. Acting like we are not living in this pandemic will not make it mysteriously disappear. If we want to lessen the impact of the second wave of cases, we need to remain in our uncomfortable masks and time-wasting hand washing. We must inconvenience ourselves and delay the desire to move around in big events freely.

Living on a respirator or dying will be more uncomfortable than a mask. Please keep yours on correctly this December unless you are outside and socially distanced from others. Remember the newly promulgated regulations on the legal numbers of people who can be inside and outside at events.

We can still have a great festive time if we remember to stay safe and follow the rules.