Coronavirus, the first of its kind was declared a public health emergency in January 2020, and a pandemic by the W.H.O. in March 11, 2020. It devastated the world and brought countries to their knees. It humbled the whole world unto submission. From March 2020 to January 2021, countries throughout the world adopted “Lockdown, Isolation and Quarantine” as a measure to help curb this pandemic. Others also placed strict and strong sanctions on almost everything coming out from China (Wuhan) where it’s believed that this Virus emanated from.
It’s sad the extent of damage this virus has caused as the media brought to our attention the case of Italy where thousands of people die daily. Doctors, nurses and other health workers did not escape from the hands of this deadly speed, cadavers were filled everywhere, mortuaries were full to capacity as mortuary attenders even stopped going to work. The world was miserable. Even the Italian President was seen crying on live television because there was nothing to be done as his citizens continuously died as a result of the rate at which the virus quickly spread.
As at February 5, 2021, with confirmed recorded cases of 105 million humans, 58.3 million have recovered with the death toll standing at 2.28 million deaths worldwide, with the USA having the highest confirmed cases of 26.8 million and death toll standing at 461,116. In addition to this, there were also three recorded different variants of Coronavirus, i.e. UK, Brazilian and South African Variants respectively. While other countries have also developed vaccines namely PFIZER-BioNTech vaccine, Moderna’s vaccine, AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Janssen’s vaccine, Novavax’s vaccine and SinoVac to help curb the spread, Africa awaits to be saved as usual.
But Africa started early though, with the initial cure of COVID-19 coming from Madagascar and their president advertising the newly found cure, our faith in Africa became questionable when we sat and allowed the drug to fail! A tonic that showed 100℅ effectiveness has now turn pale in our eyes. What a pity!
Well, let’s begin with the journey of Ghana concerning coronavirus and why our active cases skyrocket with an all-increasing death toll. After our two recorded cases in February 2020, it started spreading like wild fire, people with preexisting conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart complications, severe illnesses etc were all vulnerable to Covid. The country’s scientists added to the knowledge of the world by sequencing the genome which was an incredible scientific achievement for us, now the question is “Have we developed a vaccine endogenously yet with all this knowledge”?
69,951 confirmed cases, 63,118 recoveries, 447 confirmed deaths coming from Ghana Health Service, and we need to sit up. Now our attention was drawn to a new normal on the wearing of nose masks to help curb the spread. The WHO stated on their website that the wearing of clinically approved masks is a floating factor to help curb the the spread of Covid-19, and that as far as this virus is airborne the best we can do is to wear the nose mask and additionally the face shield to cover our eyes.
Washing of hands is a priority, using of hand sanitizers must be frequent and also we must observe the social distance protocol of at least 2 meters away from the next person. The President of Ghana has had more than 20 addresses to the nation concerning COVID-19. Initially, the country was placed on a lockdown, blocking passage for land, sea and air travels into Ghana. Internal lockdown affected Ghanaians such that the government had to result to purchasing of food and sharing for millions of Ghanaians.
But that still wasn’t enough although it lessened the spread of the virus. Also government shared nose masks, sanitizers, absorbed utilities ( Water and Light bills) of almost all Ghanaians. With all these, the number of cases being recorded kept on increasing, so government thought it wise to equip the military, police and other security agencies to ensure that citizens adhered to the law under EI 64, while also lessening the restrictions. Then we had to move to the polls on December 7, 2020 to elect our leaders for the next 4 years.
That also came with its own problems under Covid. After all these most Ghanaians are still working around the country downplaying the effects and strength of the virus, also the wearing of nose mask and the sensitization ongoing has been thrown to the gutters as people walk in this country under clear defiance to the laws under Covid. So I took time to ask random people who weren’t wearing the nose mask or protecting themselves some questions and to my amusement, I believe they aren’t wearing it any time soon.
- Problem in Breathing – In the course of my research, most of the people who had no nose mask on told me directly in my nose mask that they had difficulties breathing and so they would rather breathe in bad air and die than to put the nose mask on. They said, “breathing is very difficult for me when I put on the nose masks, I have to breathe faster while sometimes inhaling with some amount of pressure sucks the material of the nose mask into the hole of the nose (nostril)” so I won’t wear it today or tomorrow.
- Carbon Dioxide Circulation – I asked two gentlemen and a lady why they don’t wear the nose masks and their answer was academic in the sense that “We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, but the problem with the nose mask is that, when you breathe in the oxygen and release carbon dioxide it circulates in the material covering your lower face ie. Nose mask, so you continuously breathe in a huge amount of carbon dioxide which when piles up in the body becomes toxic and very very problematic to you if not now, but the future. They also said that basic science being taught in class 3 says we breathe in oxygen and breathe our carbon dioxide, but the reverse is what majority of Ghanaians are doing now, carbon , carbon, carbon dioxide inside the human body so to that they would not wear the nose mask..
- Intensive Headaches – Medically I believe respondents who gave this answer must go to the hospital and be examined. That anytime they wear the nose mask, they have severe headaches visiting them and that they are forced to stop their daily activities, sleep at home and take excuse duty from work even with their red teary eyes, pain in the head, watery nose, and cold. So they won’t wear the nose mask because they fall sick and spend much money on drugs and medical appointments so they won’t wear the nose masks.
- Financial Constraints – Sincerely a nose mask is being sold from a Cedi to Two Cedis. I interviewed others on the reasons why they aren’t wearing the nose mask and this was their reason. That they live on 5ghc a day and so they cannot add the headache of 2ghc for nose mask every day. So if the government can make nose masks free, they might wear it. “.
- Clear defiance – For these people their aim is very clear to see. A clear disregard for law and order. They said they won’t wear it and that they don’t care what happens. After all, Covid is not real, its a fabrication, as usual, government lying to the people. So they would not wear the nose mask. Simplicita.
After all these I asked them, what if they are diagnosed with Covid later when all the signs and symptoms proves to the fact, and might have shared it onto their families, friends and acquittances. What would be their reaction when the blame is placed on them for being reckless and sluggish towards this deadly virus, to my amusement they all gave me a religious assurance that as far as God (Onyankropong) is alive, he wouldn’t allow anything bad to happen to them, and that they have placed their hopes and faith in the lord. Hmmmm. What a shame! Science has failed in the minds of the religious, where facts is seen as abstract, forgetting that some Priest, Pastors, Bishops, Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists have all succumbed to it.
I therefore recommend that there is the need for an intensive sensitization on Coronavirus and its effects, reason for keeping safe by wearing the nose masks and also finding another alternative for those with medical conditions to wear the masks because it’s the only proven and tested way to reduce the spread. Also strict enforcement and adherence to the law is a must and that all must abide by it. These are just but a concluded research that was done by me and it gives information about why some citizens in Ghana have decided not to wear the nose masks.
Author: Sedrick Robert Zu,
National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).