The COVID 19 pandemic has dealt the world as we knew it, a devastating blow, from which we, as humanity, are going to take a long time to recover. In South Africa, that blow has been particularly severe, as our already weak economy is battered to its knees, our people are frustrated and angry.
Hunger, unemployment and desperation stalk the land. So, it is not unexpected that as the government releases the latest new infection numbers, people are saying that we have beaten this thing, infections are down, surely we have passed through the worst? Now we can relax a little, let’s get things back to normal.
At the risk of sounding like a prophet of doom, as an HSE practitioner, I have to raise a warning flag. It is just at this time, when we appear to have reigned the virus in, to a degree, that we have to be at our most vigilant.
It is essential that we maintain our guard, that we insist on our people continuing to comply to the rules of mask wearing, social distancing and care for ourselves and others. A pandemic virus is a pernicious thing – like any predator, it will lurk in the corners and dark places, just waiting for us to let our guard down, and then it will pounce, again.
It is in times like these that we, as HSE practitioners, charged and trusted by our colleagues and peers to offer our best advice and guidance, such as is available in a new and frightening world, have to keep our wits about us. Now is not the time to relax, to lower the standards of behaviour that have allowed us to reach this point.
Now is the time for us to step up to the plate, be unpopular and enforce that last hard lap of the race that will allow us to all to return to some semblance of normality.