COVID 19 in the household – a very different kettle of fish

Well well well – we write about matters effectiveness on this blog, mostly from the OD. lens. Yet this time around, it’s COVID-19 that has effectively dealt with our household. If it were a football match – we are beaten. COVID-19 is the better team – for the simple fact that it scored more against us; we didn’t have the means to fight back, till after the 90 minutes allowed for play.

It all started with me and a trip to the South West early November, next were on and off symptoms and then the real fire: down with COVID-19 and the first four days were very difficult. I wasn’t able to get out of my bed for more than ten minutes on any of those four days. The ten days that followed weren’t as bad as the four, but I can term them lousy – actually very lousy.

Subsequently, I infected my wife and daughter – guilty, right? As if to ‘liten’ punishment for the innocent and venom for the accused/guilty, the two coped much much better than myself – perhaps, it’s testimony to what has gone around that COVID-19 isn’t man-friendly. At times, it never rains but pours! Even my brother, who I hadn’t met for a month plus, also caught COVID-19 at the same time as me. It was a COVID-19 cacophony in our small clan.

Consider COVID-19 a real threat to life – it doesn’t matter who you are, how young or old – we all are predisposed. And let us be upfront here – any one of us could have run out of road and become one of the COVID-19 fatality statistics. That was the feeling especially during the first four days. And my wife and I aren’t that old, I am fit and generally speaking, in a good state of health. So I didn’t expect COVID-19 to keep me in bed for days. But it did. And many Ugandans haven’t cut the mustard when it comes to COVID-19, and we know that – don’t we?

Alhamdulillah – as far as our household is concerned, all seems well now. We have retested and are negative, and our other daughter with a serious underlying condition is yet to catch the virus. We can only hope that the latter is good for her—small mercies from the karma. And, I am heading back to work on Monday, Inshallah.

Now, our personal COVID-19 monologues aside – we get back on to turf that looks at COVID-19 and its mitigation/control shenanigans. Are we all ‘reading’ the highly politicised global COVID-19 gymnastics right?

Locked in our house for hours, days and weeks – we couldn’t avoid continued exposure to some of the global COVID-19 macro realities courtesy of our TV. We have the COVID-19 vaccine nationalism, as well as impact on society, especially in the so-called third world.

What is at stake for a nation-state like Uganda?

….. the politics, diplomacy and nationalism of vaccine candidates…..

During our lockdown, we learnt that two vaccine candidates had over 90% efficacy and that they had been developed in record time using new technology. The two candidates were soon followed by a third, a tad controversial, but still viable vaccine candidate and, moreover, more practical for our African kindred as it can be stored at ‘normal’ fridge temperature.

We opine that the ‘vaccine nationalism’; vaccine diplomacy if you want, and the selfish side of powerful nation-states are at play. Big and powerful nations booked all the first available doses of the vaccine candidates, even before the candidates were proven viable.

And in all fairness, given the devastating effects of this virulent virus, what did we expect them to do? Not to be proactive via looking after their own citizens? Aren’t the leaders and institutions in these Western countries accountable to the citizen first?

Yet whatever we say, Africa and if we may talk for our Uganda, are left in the cold on this one. It seems that we will have to wait for the leftovers. When the needs of our Western big brothers and sisters are met, we will surely be remembered – that, we are very confident will happen. That is is our fate, and we may have to accept it.

The power of the ‘big’ nation-state is never far from these conversations, and in this case, it’s apparent. If there were a lesson for us Ugandans here – it’s to work at defining and growing a viable nation-state. Perhaps, two hundred years from now, we will be able to carve out a role and place on the turf of the mighty, and then accrue the benefits that come with the status – the fittest survive.

As in a market for anything – product or service, some segments or tiers serve certain unique demand characteristics. It’s not different for this COVID-19 vaccine – it’s a product on the market, and that is why stock-market values for successful vaccine candidate companies have gone up in the last few days.

The gold standard vaccine candidate will go to those that are primed as ‘gold’ in the ‘market’ – they are the top segment of the market, and we know them. The silver and bronze standard vaccine types will also go to those that are in that segment of the market.

Indeed, we have already seen nations book the Russian and Chinese vaccine candidates. In fact, China is so deliberate about this – as a market opportunity, that it’s apparently studying the supply-chain dynamics and how it can get vaccine from its geography to ours. These second-tier vaccine candidates may be second class, when juxtaposed against the gold standard of the Western world. But what is second may just about do for us. That is our fate – right?

Of course – much much later on, when the big brothers and sisters are safe from this monster virus, we will have multilateralism kick into play. It will be unpaused. The governance mechanism of multilateral organisations shall take over plus talk to the values and principles of fairness and equity; Karibu the COVID-19 Global Access Facility, COVAX!

And apparently Uganda 🇺🇬 isn’t simply twiddling its knuckles and waiting for AID. We have learnt recently from HE the President of the Nation Uganda, that our scientists are also moulding a COVID-19 Ugandan thing – and ours is everything from a vaccine, to a drug and immunity booster. Cure? Yes, that too. Watch the Uganda science space; ‘mbu’ we may surprise the world on this one

We can’t run away from matters ‘class’ in this world. Even the Bible had and continues to have class amongst the believers

And sadly, there are so many other COVID-19 ramifications – all taking us back to things class and power. The gendered nature of COVID-19; the corruption and malfeasance that COVID-19 shall bring about via vaccine demand, supply shortages and the ensuing black market in vaccines.

There is a lot to write about this virulent virus and its effects? But, fresh from the Uganda COVID-19 conveyor, we have been advised to press the ‘restart-our-life’ button, but pole pole (read: slowly) – so maybe time to sign off on this one.



Categories: People

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