Stand in solidarity

Lorenzo Davids, Community Chest CEO

Our country faces the greatest challenge it has ever faced in the democratic era.

Before us is an enormous challenge of immense proportion.

As 57 million dearly loved citizens, it is our time to stand in social solidarity with one another to defeat this threat to our people’s well-being and our nation’s prosperity.

As Covid-19 spreads in South Africa, it is our duty to rise as one to defeat it.

No one – poor or wealthy, black or white, resident or refugee, is spared the threat of infection.

It is our duty to come together as one and to remind ourselves of the words of our national anthem: Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso, (God protect our nation) O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho, (End all wars and tribulations) O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso, (Protect us, protect our nation) Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika (Our nation South Africa – South Africa).

I am making sure, and advise you as well, to keep at least two metres away from anyone over the lockdown period. I beg you to heed this call. No, not one metre and not 1.5 metres.

Let’s do ourselves and our country a big favour and do more than what’s required of us.

Please pay attention to this fact: Asymptomatic people and pre-symptomatic people are possibly our biggest threat right now. They are potentially the fastest spreaders of the virus.

Asymptomatic people are perfectly healthy, show no signs of the virus, do not get sick and carry on with life totally normally.

They need no treatment and some do not even appear to have a slight flu, but they carry the virus and infect others.

Pre-symptomatic people have been infected with the virus but are not aware of it and symptoms may manifest after a period of time, but they carry the virus and infect others.

I could well be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. And so could you. We could all be carriers of the virus and we don’t know it because we show no symptoms, but we pass it on to others who get very sick and some may even die because of us.

Please may I beg you to take seriously the fact that you and I – as possible asymptomatic carriers – may be infecting others even though we appear to be healthy. Please may I beg you to stay at least two metres away from any human contact for the lockdown period.

Please may I beg you to wash your hands, sanitise your surfaces and don’t give anything to anyone that you might have touched in any way that has not been sanitised.

Please may I beg you to not don’t touch anything around you without first sanitising it and also sanitise it after using it or touching it.

I repeat: You and I – despite not showing any symptoms – may be carriers of the virus right now. Stay away from other people. Don’t be irresponsible and affect and infect others. If someone with no symptoms – an asymptomatic carrier – touches a surface or utensil, the virus may live on that surface or utensil for at least two to three days. By touching that surface or utensil, you may become infected with the virus.

The virus will only be removed from that utensil or surface if that surface or utensil is sterilised and sanitised. The current virus trajectory shows that the virus infection rate in South Africa may possibly take an aggressive expansionist turn.

If this happens, thousands of people will need possible hospitalisation or medical treatment. Thousands of our country’s most destitute citizens have very little means to safeguard themselves against such a threat to their lives.

Where possible, let us help them to be safe and their children to be protected. Whatever you can do to help another family have safe physical distancing practices, please do it.

Your story will be part of our great kaleidoscope of stories of social solidarity. If you wish to reach out to others with an offer of help during this time, always do so through a health or emergency services worker. I ask you to make the sacrifice required by your country and your fellow citizens by being extreme in your caution and considerate of others in your conduct.

Again, we may all be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers. Let us stay away from other people. I am praying for your safety and protection.