One of the dangers of ignorance is that it can make one stand on the way of a tiger – and get devoured! And today, a very serious issue is being treated with a high sense of ignorance so the people may suffer without measure.
In our society today, COVID-19 has been, and is still being, treated with lots of laxity while it ravages humanity. It is like everyone has a different belief and every person, a different story.
There are many “thesis” and “antithesis” on COVID-19, giving room to some conspiracy theories that thrive on ignorance and false assumptions – and they spread at the speed of light.
I got to one State capital around 5:10pm that fateful day and boarded a taxi to a community in another government area in another senatorial district. But before then, I observed that almost everyone was without facemasks. There’s nothing like social distancing too. Commuter buses carry four passengers per roll and some ‘Korope” have conductors that hang on the doors.
My trip to the community became more interesting when I asked the driver why “they” don’t use facemasks – and lo! I got the lengthiest lecture of the year.
From one theory to another, I had enough on COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories. It was indeed a lengthy lecture by the driver – a very sound retiree turned farmer who was coming back from his fish farm and decided to carry a few “passengers” to take care of his fuel cost. But for being a healthcare professional, a research fellow and a public health commentator, I would have been bamboozled by the man’s oratorical ability as he was dishing out wrong information based on false assumptions and outright ignorance as they relate to COVID-19 pandemic and the ‘purported’ vaccines!
As he delved into COVID-19 Vaccines, his emphasis shifted to the making of “humanoids” through nanotechnology. He was too bold to state that the vaccines contain microchips that are capable of converting human beings to humanoids and as such no one who believes in God should take it. He went further to state that “they” – their religious group – will do everything within their reach to stop people from taking the vaccines and indeed every other medicine for COVID-19. On moral grounds, he also linked the vaccines to human placenta harvested from criminal and heartless “abortions” meant to fight God and reduce “our” population.
His position, and those of like minds, should not be taken with light gloves for he is a highly placed member of a dominant religious group. And from what he said, their members have been indoctrinated to see everything about COVID-19 as a scam. Little wonder some religious organizations now preach against COVID-19! But at whose expense?
From the conversation, I got most of the reasons the “people” don’t comply with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.
When I asked him if he was aware that President Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Disease Health Protection 2021 into law, a regulation which makes the use of face mask mandatory, he laughed aloud and said, “This is will be story for another day. Even if he were to wear a face mask, for mentioning Buhari and bringing him into the discussion, he will not. If the man who can stop at nothing to deprive you and your people of every right will turn around to sermonize to you, please run for safety. The man does not mean well for us and he has done everything within his reach to make us suffer but he is not God.”
But does one lose anything by masking up? Can the proper use of hand sanitizers or regular hand washing take anything away from people? Assuming there is no coronavirus; does social distancing prevent one from achieving one’s goals? And for the vaccines, should anyone be forced to take it?
We are in for great surprises. Our ignorance and the denial of existing reality will never exempt us from the impending danger rather such will worsen the case and endanger more lives. Ignorance is no excuse in law and in this case cannot prevent one from contacting the virus and possibly dying of its complications.
Where ignorance thrives, the people suffer. There is an urgent need for intensive sensitization and reorientation to avoid a situation where the news of COVID-19 related deaths would become a daily creed heard in every family. Those not infected would somehow be affected and the cost implications will be unbearable.
The government must rise up now to the challenges of enforcement otherwise everyone would be endangered and the consequences could only be imagined not with our poor health system and poverty level.
A word is enough for the wise. COVID-19 is real. It is not only spreading like wildfire but more people are dying of it and when one dies, life goes on.
Be health conscious. Mask up. Stay safe. Live to the full.
Livy-Elcon Emereonye writes from Lagos.