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Opinions of Monday, 11 May 2020

Columnist: William Lamptey

Too much of 'spread calm not fear' rhetoric; breeding havoc instead of calm

Ever since Ghana recorded its first case of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, social media, and traditional media have not been spared with the in pouring of the ever-popular #spreadcalmnotfear catchphrase behind the escalating COVID-19 in Ghana.

Truly, the intention of public officials was to water down the level of fear which gripped most Ghanaians. Hence the statement which sort to say, amidst the global crisis everything is under control so there's no cause for alarm. But unfortunately for us, this very catchphrase is rather becoming problematic than expected.

It seems most people are undermining the severity of the disease which has claimed several thousands of lives and has no vaccines yet, despite scientists and doctor's relentlessness to find vaccines for the global pandemic.

To a large extent, it feels the right message has not been preached hence the reason why most people keep defying the president's order.

Obviously, the message we've been made to understand is, wash your hands under running water and always sanitize your hands, wear a nose mask and you'll be safe. But truth be told, the real message has not yet gone down people's minds.

Earlier, it was said that the mortality rate of coronavirus stood at 2-3% meaning out of every 100 people who contract the disease 3 of them will die. But the question is, is that still the case? No! At the moment in the USA, out of every 100 people who catch the disease 30 will die.

Indeed, this phenomenon to me needs a rather pragmatic approach that will help send the right signal because as it stands now the spread calm and not fear strategy has failed woefully and when we continue to hold on to it, a chunk of us might just lose our lives to the ever promising coronavirus who has nothing to spare.

Though the coronavirus education has gone down well, there's still the need for authorities to tell Ghanaians the scientific fact about the virus and not to sugarcoat the issue. It is imperative for officials to let the citizenry know the dangers and harsh realities of the virus and the need for each and everyone to stay home.

As it stands now, all borders still remain closed, businesses continue to feel the pinch of the virus which doesn't seem to have an end in sight. Obviously, churches and social gatherings have also not been spared in this fight.

Critically, it leaves no room for mediocrity and politics. It is high time the president sounded more aggressive in his speech than his calm and seemingly "everything is alright posture", because, it appears that is the reason why we keep seeing people violate the president's order in broad daylight. This to me calls for panic! Because for a fact, we have not been made to see how terrible this disease is and how badly it can affect the country.

I guess we're not waiting to record a higher death rate before we act accordingly because we honestly might not have what it takes to handle the situation when it escalates.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of global infections as of today, Monday, May 11, 2020, stands at 4,218,496 million. At least 284,765 people around the world have died, with the highest death tolls in the US and Italy. About 1,506,743people have recovered.

This staggering figure calls for alarm as the number keeps increasing. As it stands now, Ghana has had its fair share of higher records with a total of 4,263 cases with 378 recoveries and 22 deaths as of May 11, 2020, with South Africa sitting comfortably on the league table in Africa.

At this point, we cannot afford to lose more lives because, every life matter in this fight. We haven't preached the fact that even in the most advanced countries, people are dying, we haven't preached that as a country, we do not have ventilators and we cannot take care of the sick should the matter get out of hand.

I'm sure if we had preached this line enough, most people will begin to understand the reality and gravity of the coronavirus epidemic. It is never the common flu, it is severe, dangerous, and even more, deadly. Coronavirus is not a respecter of class or affluence and until we are made to know the outcome of our actions, we will be sitting on a ticking time bomb ready to explode.

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