COVID: Simple Hand-washing Could Save Lives

Authored by: Elizabeth Mbekeka

We never fully fathom the intensity of the things that we read about until we share in a personal experience. Take, for instance, the 14th Century Black Death, which claimed over 50 million lives in Europe alone, was a story commented on as “very sad” until the current outbreak of the SARS Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). The pandemic has undeniably disrobed nations,  shaken economies, traumatized individuals, and subjected the objectives and motives of various institutions to questioning.

According to a WHO 2020 report, COVID-19 is transmitted through air droplets, affects the respiratory system and shows mild symptoms like dry cough and fever to the more complex ones including difficulty in breathing and loss of speech.

The pandemic has claimed millions of lives, exposed several survivors to stigma, increased mental health issues, eroded years of economic growth, and exposed the under-preparedness of health systems and governments the world over.

Maintaining good personal hygiene remains at the forefront of combating the spread of COVID19. The most recommended preventive methods against Coronavirus spread are regular hand washing, sneezing in a tissue or clean handkerchief  rather than your hands, regularly disinfecting surfaces and wearing a clean face mask while out in public spaces. 

And, who ever imagined that just keeping clean and being more cautious could win a standing ovation over modern medicine? Current COVID-19 vaccine research, though promising, is progressing much slower than the spread of the infection. Even the medical workers are not immune with many contracting the virus from their patients while a definite drug cure for the virus remains inexistent.

All the other microbes should be growling in envy at how one virus snatched their spotlight and has sabotaged their chances of mystifying the human race in 2020!

COVID-19 has tactfully reminded us of three key issues: to regularly employ the simple hygiene basics that we often neglect, that prevention is much better than cure, and the importance of having strong health care infrastructures.

[Edited by: Liz Mweru]