A DARK cloud has been hovering over the country and Government as freedom fighters, ministers, captains of industry, revered academics and top Government officials have been losing the battle to COVID-19.
Yes, big names have been making the numbers on the list of other nameless citizens who have become victims of the global pandemic amid continued calls from authorities for people to stay safe by following precautionary health measures.
Ministers Rtd Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza, Dr Sibusiso Moyo and Ex-Prisons Commissioner General, Major General (Retired) Paradzai Zimondi are among the high-profile people who have been consumed by the deadly pandemic, among other politicians, academics and business people.
It is sad however, that some shameless political gladiators and cyber stormtroopers have taken to social media to make fun of the deaths of Government officials although the pandemic is not selective and no-one is immune to it.
Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavima who survived the pandemic shares his experience and how he managed to overcome it. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November last year and he gives his account below.
When I contracted the virus initially, I started feeling weak, I had a fever, I was having dry coughs, loss of appetite and getting very tired. I would start off in the morning feeling tired and I would then feel like I needed to take a nap. I then knew something was not right and after three or so days I started having shortness of breath.
Low risk perception
I did not realise that it might be Covid-19. I just assumed that I was working too much until after about three or four days my family also noticed that I was not the normal me. They asked me to go see a doctor, we always see a doctor. I started procrastinating telling myself that I will be alright the next day.
My family was however, adamant and managed to convince me to go and see the doctor. That is when I noticed that I was having difficulties in walking. It was very difficult to get to the car and walking to the doctor’s rooms.
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor started examining me, asking me questions and he said “you seem to have shortness of breath” and I didn’t realise it. He also observed that my oxygen saturation was a bit low and checked my sugar levels and noticed it was high.
I am diabetic so I was at risk because I am also hypertensive. He then asked me to take a Covid-19 test. We (me and my wife) then went to a private laboratory and we got tested and we were told to wait until the next day for the results.
The following the day the doctor called and informed us that that the results were out. We went back to the doctor and I was still feeling weak and tired and it was in the morning. I still had fever. The doctor said “your sugar levels are high. You were not managing it properly.”
He informed me that I also had tested positive to Covid-19 and x-rays were showing that there was an infection in the lungs which was pneumonia.
The doctor then prescribed some antibiotics, betamethasone tablets, asked me to use a glucometer, oximeter and to continue checking my blood pressure constantly. He asked me to give him a daily update. I was told to steam two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
My house was disinfected and fortunately my son and my wife both tested negative. They were told to maintain social distance, mask up always and constantly disinfect.
After 21 days I then went back to the doctor and we had another test and I came out negative.
Fighting the pandemic psychologically
It is not a good feeling to be told that you have Covid-19 and when you are told to stop interacting with others. Most people find it difficult to isolate at home. After a few days of isolation people start breaching the isolation regulations.
I would wake up, sit in the garden and do some light exercises just to make sure I don’t strain my lungs.
Anything which was needed to be done at the office the staff would bring the papers to my gate and drop them there and I would also return them the same way. I minimised the interaction with people. This is difficult for a politician and a minister because you are used to interacting with many people making decisions.
For the two weeks I was at home, I would only talk to people over the phone. Some would ask to see me oblivious of the risk of contracting the disease. One needs to have a positive attitude if they test positive to Covid-19. You just need to keep a positive mind, maintain social distance, masking up and not go anywhere.
I would say to all those people whether high profile or not they should listen to what the Government is saying. Do not delay to get treatment and do not procrastinate because you also risk the life of other people around you. At the moment without the vaccine the real deal is to mask up.
The biggest weakness with Zimbabweans is that they are reluctant to mask up. We need to constantly sanitise because we handle a lot of papers. In the second wave high profile people are succumbing to Covid-19 and there are many others out there dying who are not known. This thing is not political, it is real, it was not brought by any political party.
While we wait for the vaccine these are the things that we can do to prevent ourselves from being infected. All I can say is as politicians let us continue to spread the message. Let’s talk about it.
Our people have this misguided belief that they have to interact face to face, that issues can’t be resolved wholesomely through the phone or on email.
These are dangerous times, we need zoom meetings (using digital platforms). All those making fun of these Covid-19 related deaths have lost ubuntu/hunhu. Just because your family has not been affected, it does not mean Covid-19 is not there.