I never thought in my most far-fetched nightmares that there would ever be a time in my life when I wouldn’t dare to venture out of my house, cowed in enforced fear to stay home, yet filled with so much anxiety and looking for the next opportunity to get out of the house – even if for just a little while. But that’s how I feel now.
That’s my condition now. That’s the condition for many of my friends, family and compatriots. And to think that much of the world, two-thirds of humanity, is in a similar condition is no more comforting as it is sobering. From Amsterdam to Zanzibar, from Paris to the Panama Straits, the streets are empty, once bustling trading posts are eerily quiet: life as we know it has been turned on its head.
How long will this go on for? When can we step out of our homes and live our lives as normal again? What will ‘normal’ even look like when all this is over? Nobody knows. Even the so-called experts are in shock, scratching their heads and mumbling one half-baked theory after another.
What we all know for sure is that we are under siege. An invisible, insidious enemy has invaded our world and has turned watery droplets from our own mouths and noses into powerful, microscopic bombs, which have incapacitated hundreds of thousands of human bodies from Wuhan to Washington and forced the rest of us to scurry indoors like a bunch of scared, hurried rats.
Death is all around us. Death has gotten us running scared. Some of us will die. That’s the bad part. The good part, though, is that many of us will live.
But if this monster hits us in Ghana with a tenth of the venom it has unleashed on Italy, Spain or Iran, those of us who would survive would regret not dying. Dealing with the aftermath of this war might be more difficult than waging the war itself. There’s every sign that we are not doing so well. We are trying but the odds are stacked against us; we are fighting from a losing position. We lost the war long before it began. We didn’t prepare for it because we never thought it will ever come and hit us with such ferocity. We didn’t invest in the infrastructure to treat the hundreds who will be hit because we thought investing in luxury cars and large church auditoriums (from Abbosey Okai to Spintex Road to North Kaneshie etc.) was better than investing in the army health professionals who would lead us into exactly such a battle. We don’t have the hospitals, because our leaders thought they could always go to a better hospital somewhere in Europe to die in style. Our undervalued, overworked health professionals are going to battle bravely for us with what little they have on the frontlines but without the appropriate personal protective equipment, they will be the ones to bring the enemy to our homes and then look on haplessly as coronavirus decimates many of us.
I know it all sounds very gloomy. But don’t despair. Just tell yourself “it’s all good.” If you die, it’s ok. We’ll all die anyway. If this is what pushes you to the other side, so be it. It’s ok. Chances are, you’d die in the company of some ‘big men’ who have been grounded by the virus and denied the privilege of dying in a plush, well-equipped hospital in London or Atlanta or Frankfurt. Chances are your ghosts will cross to the other side together and you will finally have the opportunity to give this ‘big man’ an earful, swear at him and tell him about how his lack of leadership and foresight has brought you both to an early, undeserved, unwanted death. It’s all good.
Death now will also save your family a lot of expense. They will have one less mouth to feed to begin with. Then there’s the funeral, which will be attended by no more than 25 people, meaning they will spend much less on hospitality and catering than they would if you die after the current regime of restrictions against mass gatherings have been lifted. That’s not to say you should just go out there now and die anyhow. Wait for death to come to you, if it must. If it does come to you through coronavirus, well, some will cry but many will be grateful.
If you do, however, survive coronavirus, that’s also ok. You may consider yourself lucky to have been spared, but you are going to be so traumatised and scared you might wish you had gone with those the disease took away. Survival means, you will be among those who will be tasked with the responsibility of rebuilding this nation, putting the world back on its feet, making it a better place for both the survivors and the generations to come.
That’s also pretty good.
It’s an opportunity to press the reset button to reconfigure our minds and come to the realisation that we need to back the saying that ‘our health is our wealth’ with the necessary investment in all the infrastructure we need to be able to deal and cope with many of the underlying conditions that helped make coronavirus such a killer. You cannot bring the dead back to life, we are told, but you apparently know how to get the ravaged economy back on its feet. Let’s see how good you are with that. Whiles at it, please, be sure to lay the foundations for our defences to prevent this catastrophe from ever happening ever again. Who knows? Future generations might look back on these times with glee and thank coronavirus for bringing us to our senses and forcing us to make our nation and our world a better place. Thus, through all the uncertainty, fear and anxiety I look at all that is happening around the world, and all I can say is: “it’s all good”!