When China’s first confirmed Covid-19 case traced back to November 17, 2019 was announced, the pandemic was too far from Zimbabwe.
On January 13 when the first case outside of China – a woman who had arrived from Wuhan – was reported in Thailand, Covid-19 was still thousands of miles away.
On January 30, when the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a global emergency after the death toll in China jumped to 170, reality was still too far away.
And when a Zimbabwean man – only known publicly as Patient Number One – became the first person to test positive in March, reality started to sink in, albeit slowly.
By end of April, four people had died of Covid-19 and the country was already under lockdown.
As of yesterday morning, 69 people had been killed by the virus in the country, with the total number of cases rising to 3 659.
By yesterday afternoon, over 18 million coronavirus cases were confirmed worldwide, with over 690 000 deaths and 11 million recoveries.
The time for a peak in Zimbabwean cases has indeed come.
The national lockdown, hygiene and social distancing measures were never a cure. They can only serve to reduce the number of cases or at least keep them within the capacity of the local health sector.
In yesterday’s edition we carried two stories illustrating why it is the duty of all Zimbabweans to change their behaviour and play their part in the fight against Covid-19.
In one story we illustrated how local Covid-19 transmissions have risen alarmingly in the country, constituting more than 70 percent of all cases, while they make up 94,5 percent of Bulawayo’s infections.
The positivity rate, calculated by dividing the total number of tests conducted by the number of positive results, for the combined PCR and RDT tests is one positive case in every 36 people tested. Two weeks ago, the positivity rate was one in every 60.
One in every 19 people has tested positive for Covid-19 when using the RDT while one in every 19 people has tested positive for Covid-19 when using the PCR figures. Two weeks ago, one in every 35 people had tested positive for Covid-19 when using the RDT while one in every 24 people had tested positive for Covid-19 when using the PCR figures.
In the other story we tried to show that while a number of Covid-19 patients will beat the pandemic, those who recover may find themselves battling life-long side effects including erectile dysfunction.
Researchers say Covid-19 and the continuous lockdown conditions which have been imposed in many countries have left some people jobless, others staying at home without any activities, and most of them now face economic issues that lead to stress, depression and anxiety.
It goes without saying that the more cases Zimbabwe records, the longer the effects of Covid-19.
What we do now as Zimbabweans will determine our future. Covid-19 has disrupted business, livelihoods, schooling and families.
Our lives will never be the same again. Let’s join hands with Government in shaping the future.