Of the myths ,Misconception and Politics of Covid-19 in Africa on social media platforms.
By Emmanuel Otieno~ Imara Fellow
Ever since the earth was purged with Corona Virus ,many people have claimed to know the origin of the virus .A section of the information shared by these people is true while the reality remains that a large number of people continuously spread fake information without their knowledge and sadly enough the untrue message spreads even faster in our social media platforms.
First and foremost ,does everyone understands that COVID-19 is one of the existing Corona viruses with the difference being source of infection?How then do we demystify the truth from rumors? Can we be able to dispense some of the myths about COVID-19 and counter check the existing information from the truth?
Being a fan of social media platforms,I have came across several information and messages that are clearly misleading the public.The information has a complex explanation of the root cause of the new virus with political and economic angle.Let me begin with our country, where a section of the public believe that Corona virus (COVID-19 ) does not exist and sees the government as playing the ‘Tom and Jerry’ game with them in a bid to secure the amorphous WHO funding .While narrating the tale about the virus ,even their facial expression vividly affirms that for them this is a scheme by the government to enrich itself.Others are of the opinion that the virus is only attached to certain class of people ,and specifically points out that the High class are the most vulnerable .They also believe that the middle class and those living below poverty line are most resilient to the virus with a view that the category of such people have strong immune system because majority of them don’t feed on junk food.
Public facilities have not been spared also by these rumors. A section of the public believes that any patient who goes to a health facility at this particular time will be directly placed under quarantine and no testing will be done.Others ascertain that some health facilities are using patients to run a diagnostic test and intentionally injects them with the virus.The explanation over why few people turn up for Mass testing has been addressed by the fact that the public live in fear of the unknown.
There are those that will shock you with their public opinions .It’s worrying to see some political die-hards threatening that the virus shouldn’t infect their political leader and if it happens then the county will be at risk.This is very sarcastic for so many reasons.First of all the person is not concerned at all with their health and whether they are susceptible to the infection.This is more than illusion .The people being fought for and defended are certainly living a lavish life and have the capacity to acquire the Personal Protective Equipment as well as Hand sanitizers and access enough water points.Even if they would have been tested positive they can still manage to be isolated at a high end Hospital .On the other hand their supporters can’t even afford to be at the quarantine facility without the government intervention.
Moreover majority reports that African countries only saw this as an opportunity to boost their collapsing economy and thus are pretending to have rising cases in order to get funded.A good number also believes that the virus isn’t an African affair and claims that if it was then the rate of mortality would be equally the same with that experienced in the Asian and Europe States.
Political views are not exempted.Some people believe that the virus was manufactured to politically wipe out the African population by the Chinese Government and instead take into possession Africa’s natural resources.The argument does not end there .Continuously some opinions suggests that since the first case was reported in Wuhan which later became the epicenter ,the virus was therefore biologically manufactured to help the Chinese Government advance their attacks on major powers at the international political arena and hence was a means of balance of power.
Alternatively some African states have taken into consideration that their sovereignty is beyond borders and believe that for them even their countries are sovereign free from the disease and only certain countries have the rights to poses the new virus.So sad .
What then is the truth about the new Corona virus?.
Having interacted with London School of Hygiene to my understanding the following is the truth about COVID-19.
COVID-19 is not totally a new disease but a reciprocity of the existing family of Corona Viruses that were first recorded in 1960 with a viral appearance of spike like crowns.Corona viruses are respiratory viruses that replicates the airways having mild like common cold , running nose symptoms.
The first known types of Corona viruses in existence include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERs) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARs). COVID-19 is classified to be an etiological virus(unknown cause) and was confirmed as new by sequencing it’s genetic material hence patients didn’t have known diseases when they did test( Genetic material) ~ Genome.
The truth is that COVID-19 knows no boundary nor class .It is highly infectious and and it care not of someone’s race.That’s the reality we live in.