Do They Know It’s Coronavirus Time?
In conversations about coronavirus in Africa I’m finding there’s a great danger of not viewing Africa as anything more than in 1984 when Bandaid was releasing Do They Know It’s Christmas Time? I’m almost expecting Bob Geldof to pop up and attempt to make salient points about how badly Africans are going to be hit. I believe in forward planning based on evidence but I don’t believe in time-consuming forecasting of worst case scenarios that are unlikely to play out. Testing is certainly low, but Mozambique so far has only 39 official cases and no deaths from coronavirus. There’s a partial lockdown that isn’t official and definite concerns that containment of the spread is harder where poverty doesn’t provide any cushion or guarantee of some support through an official system, such as the UK government’s furlough scheme. Whilst there are clearly some examples to the contrary, the biggest risk factors for coronavirus seem to be advanced age and poor lung health. I don’t think it’s helpful to catastrophise that the virus will sweep through Mozambique and devastate entire communities as the population is young and most people I know there are as fit as a fiddle. Yes, there is a greater incidence of HIV and various other diseases but many of these are managed and there are unproven links to susceptibility to coronavirus. Therefore I don’t think it’s realistic to predict mass deaths when most people get away with a mild case, if they show symptoms at all. Most people in the world are so accustomed to adversity that coronavirus itself won’t faze them.
It’s interesting when ideological differences creep into the workplace as usually one’s views on these matters doesn’t need to feature strongly. Coronavirus is teaching me that my outlook is more fatalistic than I realised. Is there such a thing as a rational fatalist? I don’t believe in fate as a predetermined concept but it sounds accurate enough. I could simply be trying to describe ‘laissez-faire’, although that always conjures up the image of someone slapdash at work, which I try not to be.
One of my old pals posted a delightful hack on social media. If you want to create the illusion of being on holiday you can use your stockpile of mini toiletries tucked away in the bathroom. My stash is in Maputo but I urge you to use yours on my behalf and create that vacation vibe.
I was feeling fairly morose after a Zoom call that lasted three and a half hours, even though the subject matter was interesting. Hannah was also having a morose day but she made me smile by choosing a yellow jumper to cheer herself up for her walk. My daily exercise took in the surrounds of my flat so I did more ‘gazing longingly’ at it, whilst lingering in front of this delightful ancient church which is opposite the building. The huge bold quote ‘Let Us Be All We Can Be’ still sticks out, reminding people to reach for the stars during lockdown. I had an urge to be reunited with the contents of my kitchen cupboards, and although I was carrying a fob that would have given entry, I resisted temptation to enter the building.
Elsewhere I passed a couple discussing their favourite train station (Blackfriars, apparently). Walking past a small terrace around the Mill Road area I heard a kid inside having meltdown in Spanish. These homes are very desirable with price tags around the half million quid mark, but being cooped up in a small house as a family during lockdown would test anyone’s patience, especially a Latino who wears his heart on his sleeve.
Gugs went to stay at her parents for a while, so I was left to my own unstructured devices for the evening. I worked until midnight fuelled by a cheese sandwich, which was entirely predictable, although the evening was broken up by cleaning some cat vomit from the carpet. I made sure I procured some Coke Zero, which Gugs frowns upon, and I’ll savour the fizz dousing my lips in the coming days.