The global noise around COVID-19 has reached deafening proportions, and amidst tussles over toilet rolls in supermarket aisles, the cancellation of sports events, closing of schools and lockdown of entire countries, the numbers keep ticking up like stock exchange trades on speed.
Although the record of infections continues to spiral upwards in a growing number of countries, the world mortality rate remains relatively low. Statistics continue to point to the fact that those most likely to succumb are those with compromised immunity levels as a result of pre-existent medical conditions or old age. Yet, we hear little about what is being done to protect and care for that target group – probably because nothing much is.
As more infections are identified in the Western Cape, we need to ask what we ourselves are doing in this regard. Who will help the gogo in a shack caring for several grandchildren if she should fall ill; who will help to feed the malnourished and who will treat the ill when they cannot afford private medical care and are too ill to wait all day in a clinic queue; who will offer to do the shopping for an elderly person confined to her house; what will happen if an entire home for the elderly is infected by the virus? Instead of battling over bottles of disinfectant, or spreading false rumours on social media, these are very real issues that need urgent consideration.
We have confidence in the compassion, integrity and ingenuity of the people of our region. In this edition you will read reports about ordinary people who saw a need in their communities and instead of waiting for government to do something about it, they have risen to the occasion and committed themselves to filling the gap. The interesting thing is that every time this happens, a closer bond of solidarity is forged between the different sectors of our society. Our challenge to our readers is to make the frail and the elderly our priority in the months ahead.