As we struggle to live with Covid-19 and reopen the economy, it is crucial that we adopt three important principles:
First, to avoid national lockdowns in the face of any epidemic, we need to practise family lockdowns. We need to educate and encourage one another to quarantine ourselves and our family members when anyone is sick at home with fever or any symptoms in an ongoing epidemic.
Families with sick individuals need to monitor their temperature and symptoms closely every day and to stay at home until the sick person has recovered. With the coronavirus, we can use the antigen rapid tests to ensure that we are not infected before going out.
Second, to avoid overloading the hospitals, we can learn to regard the coronavirus as a messenger to test the status of our health. Those who are healthy will recover. The duration of sickness is but the expression of our body's need for rest. There is no need to rush to the hospital or clinic for mild symptoms.
It is important to understand that fever and symptoms are the body's defence mechanisms, as well as a warning that we need to rest. They are part of the body's healing processes.
We need to accept hospice care for those at the end of life. Instead of fearing the virus, we can see it as a wake-up call teaching us to face the reality of death.
Death is not the greatest enemy - inhumanity is. For many of the elderly who are bedridden and in pain, death is often the final healing. Many of the sick elderly wish to die at home, and with hospice care, many can do so, even with a Covid-19 infection.
Third, we need to empower people with the truth so that they will not be lost and confused by messages that instil fear, anger, resentment and hate. Such emotions erode trust and provide fertile ground for misinformation and disinformation.
Let us learn to befriend Covid-19 so that it can teach us to become a more cooperative, caring and compassionate nation where love and trust will flourish.
Patrick Kee (Dr)