During the past months, you may have heard “stay home, wash your hands and don’t touch your face” countless times. But as the cases rise, people have also become desensitized and lax – with the majority ignoring precautionary measures against coronavirus implemented by the health ministry.
In Bahrain, recent news of a family infecting over 30 individuals took over social media last month. Meanwhile, another person infected 16 of his family members due to non-compliance of the precautionary measures.
Each of these – and numerous other similar cases – highlights just how quickly COVID-19 can spread from even small gatherings of people.
Some may be asking, “Can I visit my elderly parents and grandparents for a weekend brunch?” or “Is it okay to keep seeing my friends and family since we’re all free from symptoms?”.
The short answer is NO.
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted by respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes. However, people infected with the virus can be contagious before they start showing symptoms. Meaning, each close contact with another person – even if they are asymptomatic – is a risk of transmitting the virus.
The Ministry of Health announced in a press conference that one of the main reasons for the spread of coronavirus is gathering. There has also been increased reckless behaviour by the public in recent days, which is another reason for the increase in the number of cases.
It is true that social distancing tests the human capacity for cooperation. However, each of us must play a part in resisting the urge to take part in large gatherings. Given the uncertainties in the prevalence of asymptomatic cases among the public, it is vital the we reduce the size of gatherings or avoid it whenever possible.
You may perceive yourself as a low-risk individual but you must understand that everyone is vulnerable to coronavirus. You need to consider how your actions could affect the public as well as the healthcare system. Social distancing will only help “flatten the curve” if everyone follows preventive measures in remaining physically separated (well, at least about 6 meters).
Staying safe is a responsibility that we must perform collectively. Until the virus is brought under control, practicing social distancing and other measures will be critical in combatting COVID-19.