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COVID Denial - Karma is a B...it of a Bother

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on March 11, 2021 17:26

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Many people still refuse to accept that a deadly virus is stalking the globe. Many complain that wearing masks is unhygienic, limiting their freedom of expression, and worse. We often hear that regulations are not logical and consistent. The virus doesn't care.

The German expression is schadenfreude. Joy in the troubles of others. My mother would disapprove, my grandmother tut-tutted. Dealing with such a deadly disease as COVID 19, one should commiserate with people taking ill. One might feel a pang of 'you asked for it' amidst the concern and hopes for recovery. A yoga acquaintance of ours, a staunch mask refuser and conspiracy proponent, got the virus and spent a week under intensive care. And still, some of her friends expound how unhealthy masks are, how they contain bacteria, and increase your carbon dioxide level. 

President of Tanzania John Mangufuli was elected in 2015 and immediately began to shake up political structures. Rooting out inefficiency and corruption with a down-to-earth approach endeared him to the public, but concerns about human rights and press freedom persisted. When the pandemic arrived, Mangafuli, a science and chemistry Ph.D., claimed that the virus is from the devil and that it would be defeated by national prayer. Tanzania has refused to publish COVID data and has also not ordered any vaccines. 

Elections held in November of 2020 were allegedly rigged, and many opposition leaders arrested. Mangufuli was re-elected and nothing came from contestations of the electoral results. But the plot has started to unravel. The Catholic Church in Tanzania has expressed alarm over the death of scores of priests and nuns from COVID-like illnesses. Hospitals are inundated by patients requiring oxygen and coffin makers are running out of materials. 

Zanzibar, storied island of spices and troubled partner in the Tanzanian federation, saw dominant politician Maalim Seif Hamad die of COVID. Hamad was a proponent of mask-wearing, and for greater autonomy for Zanzibar and its sister island Pemba. His dream of the island becoming a Singapore of Africa now falls to his successor. 

But then comes the news that an African leader from a country where masks are discouraged and where COVID is not recognized was being treated in Nairobi for pneumonia. And a few days later opposition figures in Tanzania alleged that President Mangufuli had been flown from Nairobi to India for treatment for COVID. Government figures denied the claims, stating that President Mangufuli was hard at work in his office. 

Some tribal wisdom: It is great to walk barefoot on the grass. But if there are scorpions in the grass it is foolhardy to insist that the scorpions are imaginary, that wearing shoes is an imposition on one's freedom, and that the rule should make allowances for sandals. The scorpions don't care. 

The Coronavirus we are dealing with has shown its ability to mutate rather frighteningly. It has shown an ability to infect animals. The danger now is that if this virus is not eradicated soon we may have mutations taking place in remote, marginalized parts of the world that might render vaccinations useless. It needs to be effectively eradicated before this happens. Conspiracies? Lab escapes? Bill of rights? Personal comfort? 

The virus doesn't care. 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on March 11, 2021 17:26

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Source: NYT
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For months John Magufuli railed against masks, social distancing and vaccines. Now rumors are circulating that he’s critically...

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