Do Kenyans truly believe that corona is a reality, or is it merely a figment of some wicked imagination? Do we consider this disease deadly, or are all these numbers of infections and deaths fabricated by some mischievous groups for some sinister motives?
Do we believe that washing hands, wearing masks and physical distancing can help control the spread of the virus, or are these but creations of some shrewd businessmen seeking to sell masks, soaps, and sanitisers? Is there really a new surge of infections in the country, or is it just a political game being played with the numbers?
These are actual questions asked by real people. Of course, some of these questions were catalysed by the many conspiracy theories that became prevalent at the onset of the pandemic. As most of the world got into lockdowns, individuals and groups came up with interesting theories about the source and cause of the Covid-19.
The claims ranged from the near factual to the totally absurd. One of the strongest theories, and which spread rapidly across the world, was that the infection was being caused by waves from the new 5G mobile network. So strong was this belief that some protestors demolished some 5G masts in Britain.
Here in Kenya, one of the key causes of serious doubts about the virus has been the conduct of key political leaders. Whereas top level leaders, including the President and Health Cabinet Secretary, have held regular briefings on the status of the pandemic, other senior leaders have conducted themselves in a manner likely to suggest that corona is all fake news. Some leaders have hosted huge crowds in their homes, offices, press conferences, and especially in political rallies.
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Most of these meetings have been conspicuous in their total disregard for the MOH protocols – no masks, no social distancing, and a lot of physical contact.
This has left some ordinary Kenyans wondering whether this corona thing is indeed real.
While I have no empirical data to affirm the veracity of Covid-19, I have adequate information to show that there is some strange infection that is seriously affecting the health of individuals and killing some. I am part of a global network of Church leaders from across the world with whom we meet regularly. In this Covid-19 season we have met a few times to share our experiences and prayers for our nations.
This great men and women from various countries of Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Australia, and Africa, have all reported of people in their churches being infected and some dying – sometimes in unusually large numbers. I personally know of several individuals who have succumbed to this disease.
Truth be told, corona is real, and it is affecting people’s lives and taking some. While we survived the first wave of infections without too much loss of lives, a new wave has hit the country.
The number of infections, deaths and infection rates have risen drastically. This has caused the government to reintroduce some containment measures, albeit more lenient compared to those instituted in the initial stages of infections in March – a balancing act between physical health and economic wellbeing.
What this means is every one of us must take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and the community around us from possible infection by the virus. Unfortunately, human nature is such that we cannot control what we do not believe in. The fact that many are still calling on the government to relax some of the containment measures, is a clear indicator that several of us are either still in denial or are simply not honest.
The truth, however, is that as Mutahi Kagwe declared, if we continue to behave normally, this thing will treat us abnormally.
Sweden, which had opted not to have a lockdown in the first wave, has now instituted stricter measures on its citizens in a new surge of infections. The Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has himself gone into protective self-isolation after a person close to him came into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
Having crossed the threshold of 6,000 overall coronavirus deaths, the PM wrote, “The developments are going in the wrong direction fast. More are infected. More die. This is a serious situation.”
Fellow Kenyans, let us do what is in our ability to do. Meanwhile, let us call on our Almighty God to deliver us from this deadly virus. He has promised to hear us.