One of the popular jokes on Kampala streets goes “The Chinese are great friends, they ‘sent’ a fake coronavirus to Africa, and to Uganda in particular which explains the zero-death in Uganda due to coronavirus as of 14th July 2020.” This joke is informed by the fact that whatever you want, you can get from China, the leading manufacturer of any products to any specified quality on demand. For the first world markets like the United States, Europe, and Canada, the products exported are usually original high-quality ones. And for Africa, we usually receive fakes.
For this reason, rich Africans, and those with access to the treasury resources through their public service jobs prefer to travel abroad for benchmarking visits, training, and conferences basically to earn per diem and buy original products from supermarkets in those countries. But covid19 is strategic. It has made it difficult for non-essential travels meaning that only the exported covid19 fakes come to Africa.
Jokes aside, and with no offense intended to our Chinese brothers and sisters, we need a scientific explanation of the current state of the coronavirus cases. Uganda has a 0% case mortality rate compared to the global case mortality rate of the virus is 4.4%, which is a welcome development as it shows a decline from an all-time high at 7.1% in May 2020. The other African countries, despite the poverty and poor healthcare systems, are still containing the pandemic. Others say our testing is limited and that not all cases are being reported. Be it as it may, you cannot hide an elephant. If a pandemic breaks out in any country, it is difficult to hide the facts.
What is now worrying is the second wave of the pandemic that is expected. We hope we shall overcome it.
The state of coronavirus
The current cumulative coronavirus cases in Uganda are 1,024, of which 974 have been reported as having fully recovered and 174 as active. The case mortality rate in Uganda is at zero. Globally, the story is different. The total death currently stands at 572,411 people (may their souls rest in eternal peace). A cumulative total number of 13,070,097 people have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus, of which 7,226,990 have recovered. See Table 1 and Figure 1 below.
Given the global case mortality rate, the joke that the coronavirus that came to Africa, and Uganda in particular, could have been of a weak variant may hold water. The other explanations could be that Ugandans have a very strong immune system or the country’s health system is advanced.
Living with and near covid19
The opening of the economies and the resumption of the key events is an indicator that COVID or no COVID, life must continue. the English Premiership league resumed, albeit without spectators, and the 2019/20 league is about to end. Already, we got the champion.
Other leagues too have resumed.
The much-anticipated Dubai 2020 expo, that Dubai started marketing in the way back 2014, will go on as planned. Indeed, many people are tired of the word COVID-19 and social distancing. They want to hear COVID-19 and personal hygiene and care. That is what living with and near coronavirus is all about.
In Uganda, it is expected at the next Presidential address, the curfew time could be lifted, and Boda-Bodas shall be allowed to carry people. And the arcades and shopping malls shall be opened.
It appears that considering the kinds of people who go to the prayer places, the government is not yet ready to allow Churches and Mosques to open. That is a bad thing. Hope is what makes people work hard, look out for tomorrow, and think about a great future. Faith gives us hope to live another day.
Based on the new developments, I do not see schools opening anytime soon until next year. It appears the government is solving the problem by preventing it. And until the vaccine or cure is found, the future generation shall not be exposed.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were set for schools as a condition for opening are too stringent and I do not see any school with the capacity to meet them at short notice. Even if it were possible, the new investment involved would make the business of schools loss-making, unstainable, and therefore not worth it. Imagine social distancing in a class that was built for 80 children being required to accommodate 20! You need four (4) additional buildings to fit the class.
Many schools do not have the land, capital, and teachers to comply. The SOPs are a better way of saying do not open schools yet. In that case, the government must fast track the distribution of the study materials and the development of a national e-learning platform that provides all the study curriculum from the lowest level up to the highest. And the logistics involve allowing the children to access education.
Coronavirus has changed the world.
How has it changed you?
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.