The biggest driver of this pandemic is ignorance

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King, Jr

It is December 2020 and our world is a mess. It feels like this whole year has been lost to this pandemic. Yet case numbers continue to rise, and people continue to believe/pretend that this virus is not real or dangerous, and worse, they insist on trying to convince others of the same.

To date, 1,575,813 (Can you even pronounce that number?) people have died and 69 million have been infected. Sixty-nine million! Think about that number for a second, try to imagine sixty-nine million people – it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Yet every day I see some form of stupidity that makes me roll my eyes to the nth degree.

Every day I see people without masks in public (or noses sticking out above masks, or masks around chins). Every day I see ignorant Facebook posts about conspiracy theories and every day I hear people complain about lockdown rules that they think are “stupid”. Every day, people who know very little about very little (especially about medicine or epidemiology) are making bold statements and passing on information that has no truth to it. And don’t even get me started on the people posting videos about anti-vaccination!

I have some questions for those people: What is your scientific basis for these claims? Are you an epidemiologist or a virologist? Have you ever set foot in a Covid ward and seen the reality with your own eyes? Have you watched people die from a lack of oxygen? Have you told someone that there is nothing more to be done for their mother because all the ICUs are full because people still insist on boarding aeroplanes and attending parties knowing they tested positive the day before? Do you even know how a vaccine works?

My guess is that the answer to all of the above is no! These people get their information from Facebook feeds (but you read it on Facebook so it must be true right?) and share it amongst equally misinformed social circles and the cycle of perpetual ignorance continues – and the virus spreads.

If you care to break that cycle then share this rather: Covid is not a conspiracy. It is a real virus causing real illness and killing 1,575,813 REAL people (and counting!). The worst part is a significant portion of those people are essential workers who had no choice but to expose themselves. (I truly hope they did not die in vain).

In the last few weeks, we have seen a 6-fold increase in admissions to our hospital. The second wave is here and it’s looking more like a tsunami from where I’m standing. ICU’s are at capacity, oxygen ports are fully occupied and our hospitals are overflowing. Approaching the holiday season, in which selfish and ignorant behaviour thrives, it is only going to get worse.

So please, I’m literally begging you, stop spreading false information. Avoid large gatherings, be safe with your families, wash your hands, wear your mask (properly)! I’m not saying don’t enjoy your life – by all means, have fun, go to the beach (we all know I do), see your families and support local restaurants and businesses. Our economy actually needs us to maintain some kind of normalcy this summer, but just be safe and reasonable about it. And most importantly, if you read something do some research about it before you share it. You are only entitled to your opinion if it is an informed one.

Now please excuse me while I go unfollow some people on Facebook!

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