Snail mail, COVID-19 mail, some signs of the times

BY: Ajoa Yeboah-Afari
There are a lot to learn from this period
There are a lot to learn from this period

I can’t believe that it’s already a year since the world got to know about COVID-19; one year since Wuhan went into lockdown mode, introducing a strategy since being copied worldwide to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

On January 23, Wuhan, a city in central China, the place where it supposedly started, marked the anniversary of the first lockdown and currently World Health Organisation specialists are there, investigating the origin of the pandemic.

Anyway, this week, my local post office had a big surprise for me.

In my post box was a veritable treasure trove of mail I had given up hope of ever receiving, COVID-19 delayed mail.

Some had been posted in July and August 2020 in the UK, and, instead of a one-week delivery, had now arrived some six months later!

Nevertheless, postal delay is probably the least sign of the times, given the misery and havoc the virus has caused, and is still inflicting everywhere, because of the nature of modern transportation, communication and international linkages.

On Wednesday, January 27, 2021, the state funeral of Ghana’s enigmatic former President, Jerry John Rawlings, took place in Accra.

His shock death on November 12, 2020 after a short illness, was reportedly from COVID-19.

But even if it wasn’t the cause, so malevolent is the virus that now every death is associated with it.

Another sign of the times is that there is at present seemingly a growing COVID-19 guidance industry: what to do to protect oneself, what to avoid.

Needless to say, the alleged remedies are so numerous, and different, that they are confusing.

Notably, central in all the advice is the importance of constant handwashing with soap under running water.

This has prompted a witty observation that it is curious that a virus which even simple soap and water can kill has, to date, beaten the best scientific brains.

A major talking point in Ghana currently is the Internet posting by Rev Emeritus Prof. Andrews Seth Ayettey, recommending hydrogen peroxide as an “immediate protection” against the virus.

In the article, Prof Ayettey, a former, a former Provost of the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana, writes:

“In March 2020, I was prompted to begin to find out what effect hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash for oral hygiene has on coronaviruses. Working with a team of doctors and medical scientists … we discovered from the literature that these viruses are inactivated with low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

“Subsequently, we publicised our findings in the British Medical Journal on the 2nd of July 2020, as in this link, https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1252/rr-27. Based on the science, team members and their families and friends started using 1 per cent hydrogen peroxide for mouth washing and throat gargling to establish evidence of protection from the virus.

“When team members exposed to COVID-19 patients tested negative for the virus and remained healthy, we were encouraged to share the use of this oral cleansing agent with several others.”

However, Prof Ayettey stresses that the hydrogen peroxide remedy should be used alongside all the other pandemic protective protocols.

Hopefully, the Food and Drugs Authority will investigate Prof Ayettey’s recommendation and advise the public accordingly.

Two separate other internet postings make the interesting revelations that at present in China, what they do as protection from the virus, one stated, is drinking lemon grass tea; and, the second said, the Chinese drink lots of hot water and hot tea; apart from inhaling steam.

But another internet posting I came across this week, dismisses the hot water treatment.

Dr Faheem Younus, described as the Head of the Infectious Diseases Clinic, University of Maryland, USA, writes:

• We may have to live with C19 (COVID-19) for months or years. Don’t deny or panic. Don’t make your life a misery. Let’s learn to live with this reality.

• You can’t destroy the C19 virus that has penetrated the cell walls, by drinking litres of hot water – you’ll just be going to the bathroom more often.

• Even if we are taking immune-boosting supplements/medicines, please regularly leave your house to the park/beach or anywhere else.

• Immunity is increased by EXPOSURE TO PATHOGENS, not by sitting at home and consuming fried/spicy/sweet foods and fizzy drinks.

Unfortunately, it appears that many Ghanaians still don’t believe that the disease is real, despite the recent alarming rise in cases as confirmed by the Ghana Health Service, and President Nana Akufo-Addo in his Coronavirus Update 22, on January 17, 2021.

Not even the President’s directive to the police to begin enforcing the law which makes it an offence not to wear a mask in public has resulted in full compliance.

And, oddly, there are also some who believe that the disease afflicts only the rich! A market trader in Accra, interviewed by a TV station said:
“They say that it’s a disease of the rich. We don’t have money so the disease won’t come near us. We don’t eat fried rice and chicken … Have you ever heard that there’s a trader here in Madina Market who’s caught the virus? The virus is even afraid of us, the poor!

Interestingly, and noticeably, despite her retort, dangling from her ear was a mask she had taken off.

Furthermore, to add to the pandemic conundrum, now that vaccines have been developed, we hear the alarming news of ‘vaccine hoarding’ by rich governments!

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa reportedly “urged wealthy countries not to hoard surplus doses of COVID-19 vaccine, saying the world needed to come together to fight the pandemic.”

Those rich countries should remember that the world sinks or swims together. Obviously, the reason why closure of national borders is one of the preventive measures is that an infection in one country is a threat to others.

Thus a worldwide, comprehensive solidarity approach is needed to defeat this unrelenting global enemy.

Evidently no country is safe if any country has the virus.

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