Unknowingly or knowingly, do not become cold givers

Unknowingly or knowingly, do not become cold givers


Sunday, March 29, 2020

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KNOWINGLY spreading the novel coronavirus is a chilling reality we hear talk of. But endangering life by not following health directives is an equally cold reality that undermines the fight against the infectious disease COVID-19.

Well-thinking people know their life is in their hands and will take the necessary precautions. However, the reality is, our life is also in the hands of others. This makes personal blame, responsibility and level of caution extremely high; combined, ours is a collective response to leave nothing to chance in the face of this virus.

Not all humans are humane

Wilful spreaders of a virus exist. I first recognised this sick reality when my colleague spoke of “selling” HIV, if he contracted it. I thought: People going down may bring others down with them.

An HIV-positive taxi driver at the Entebbe airport stage, Uganda, Asiimwe, testified shamelessly over a decade ago to infecting his 10-year-old daughter with HIV because he wanted “to die with her”. What a cold giver! If you do this to family, are strangers exempt?

Such thinking could exacerbate the spread of COVID-19. This is no joke.

Just 'plane' madness

CNN reported an incident of a man onboard a JetBlue plane from New York City to Florida, unaware of the results from a novel coronavirus test he had done. After learning, mid-air, of his positive COVID-19 status, and after landing, he notified the airline. JetBlue has since blacklisted him from its flights.

Clearly, it is difficult to ascertain the numbers this man possibly infected. We also hear of people, locally and abroad, still busily travelling. This 'plane craze' has caused some to contract the virus and, without knowing, infect others, thereby becoming cold givers.

Still on crazy travel, Trinidad and Tobago is now languishing after 40 cases emerged on March 19, from a group of 68 nationals who went on a cruise exactly two weeks prior, despite a month of repeated warnings to limit travel. The daredevils have caused the country a hell of a mess.

Closer home, a Jamaica-bound Canadian, in what is just plain heights of madness, stood up on an aircraft, saying he may be COVID-19 positive, simply “for publicity”. The flight turned back. James Potok was arrested for public mischief, then tells CBC news that he is extremely sorry.

Locally, an entertainer has just come under the spotlight for not stating all countries visited to immigration and customs officials on return to the island, thereby escaping the quarantine net. He is now charged with breaching Section 8 (5) of the Immigration Act and is in quarantine as per precautionary COVID-19 protocol.

Recently, on a Brussels airline flight, a man got into an altercation with a stewardess, and when he couldn't get his way, spat in her face. This behaviour weakens the resolve to contain the virus. Who knows if he has it?

Real? Or sick joke?

Some weeks ago, a YouTube video emerged with what appeared to be a Chinese woman (said to have COVID-19) on a coughing and spitting spree inside an elevator. One woman, who suspected something 'foul', made an about-turn from the elevator. Other individuals subsequently joined the 'sick' woman in the spat-in elevator; everyone seemed 'unaware' of the camera overhead. How this video came about is not sure, neither its veracity, for, if indeed she had the virus, she would be quarantined; though, through local experience, we know of a man escaping quarantine and being found in the company of a woman. If the video is staged, it, to the mind of some, would be a sick joke. If it is real, it is insidious and diabolical, and calls for greater circumspection and heightened precaution on everyone's part.

The facts reveal gross acts of indiscretion locally and abroad. We empower the virus with a careless or carefree approach to clear COVID-19-related health directives. Our actions affect others.

While no local case definitively speaks to wilful virus spreaders, inattentiveness to copious COVID-19 health reminders may make us equally blameworthy if we put ourselves and others at risk, a blame we may have to carry for a lifetime.

Therefore, amid this sobering reality of a killer virus, beware. And may none of us, knowingly or unknowingly, become cold givers.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

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