A sanitised story – as told by “Uncle” Norman.
Lest we forget, there are a whole host of other diseases besides the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that we should be concerned about. These diseases could either be communicable or non-communicable, genetic or acquired, and even acute or chronic diseases. Some diseases are more common (such as the common cold, also called viral rhinitis, which is one of the most common infectious diseases in humans) while others are rather rare (just how I like my steak).
No seriously now.
According to Rare Diseases South Africa, a rare disease is one that affects less than 1 in 2000 people affected, including that there are approximately 7000 different rare diseases described to date. Furthermore, it is understood that rare diseases are often:
- Life threatening, life limiting or chronically debilitating;
- Complex, often affecting multiple body systems and requiring specialised and coordinated care that comes at considerable cost to families and the health system;
- Genetic (80% of rare diseases) and therefore not readily preventable; and
- Incurable, many with no effective treatment and symptoms often worsen over time.
The one thing that we can all agree upon (another rare phenomenon), is that due to how easily transmittable and how rapidly SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) has spread around the world (certainly beating Phileas Fogg’s fictional record of globe-trotting “Around the World in Eighty Days”), that it is often hard to remember, consider or speak of the other diseases, ailments, prejudices, infections, discomforts, afflictions, pains, etc…that affect us daily.
It is easier said than done, to convince yourself that the latest signs or symptoms that you may be experiencing, could be as a result of other diseases, without first wondering whether you exposed yourself to the infamous COVID-19. This is still the case, even when you know that you cleaned and sanitised everything, everywhere, every time. You may even start to wonder whether or not you could have exposed yourself to this dreaded disease while you were:
- Sitting next to someone who may have or may have not coughed in the taxi, bus, plane, mosque, church, synagogue, club, shebeen, classroom, or at work;
- Out for a Wimpy breakfast or getting on that stationary bike at the gym;
- Opening a communal door or collecting your municipal bin from outside after the garbage was collected;
- Hugging and kissing your kids, husband, wife, partner or dog (don’t judge);
- Doing your grocery shopping (don’t forget the toilet paper), buying bread or a 400g tin of Lucky Star pilchards in tomato sauce (for former Minister Tito Mboweni) at the local spaza shop or even while buying those non-essential items at your favourite boutique store;
- Or whatever else you may have been tempted or compelled to do (due to peer-pressure), in your daily quest to stay sane and sanitised (or safe and sound).