I was truly shocked to find out how many people there are in Hermanus who insist on downplaying the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some even flatly deny the threat with ridiculous arguments like: “They put Covid-19 down as the cause of death even when people die of other conditions” and “Most of these cases are not Covid at all, they are just the normal flu” or “They are just making up the numbers to frighten and intimidate us”. 

Who exactly “they” are, even the deniers can’t say exactly. But calling it all a big conspiracy somehow explains everything. My guess is that this attitude makes people feel better, less vulnerable and more in control. Powerful even. It’s obvious in the way they flout the rules and ridicule those who try to do the right thing. I had thought this is an attitude that is only rife in America, but no, it is alive and well right here in Hermanus. 

All I want to say to these people is that you will change your tune once you, or one of your loved ones, actually contracts this disease which “doesn’t really exist”. Three people close to me have had it, and suffered horribly. None of them have recovered fully. I also have a family member – a strong, fit and healthy person with no comorbidities who ended up on a ventilator in hospital for many weeks before his organs shut down and he passed away. Not from any other causes, or from the normal flu. No, from Covid-19. Deny it all you like, it’s a reality and it can kill you.

Which brings me to the other part that people don’t seem to get: it’s not just about you. It’s about the countless other, non-suspecting people you could unknowingly infect. By insisting on your right to socialise as you wish and to not wear a mask or keep your distance from others, you are putting everyone in danger. You are not immediately going to know if you have been exposed or potentially infected until it is too late. Why would you knowingly take this risk when there are a few simple rules in place that could prevent it? The question simply beggars belief.

And no, it’s not about living in constant fear of becoming infected. Everyone wants to live as normally as possible – and we can all do that while taking the necessary precautions at the same time. If we don’t, a second wave after the holiday season is inevitable and then, once again, even harsher steps will need to be taken. Nobody wants that to happen, and yet so many seem unable to commit to the few simple steps required to ensure that it does not happen. This makes no sense at all. What is it going to take for people to come to their senses and act in a rational manner? 

It only takes a few to ignite a resurgence, for which everyone will have to suffer the consequences. Please, stop thinking only about yourself and spare a thought, for your fellow human beings, your neighbours, family and friends – and for the economic future of Hermanus.

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