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Introduction: As we tolerate people that we cannot live without in our lives, we must also learn how to live with COVID-19 until a cure is found. We can do this by observing all the Prevention’s Protocols suggested by experts from WHO., (2020). COVID-19 prevention protocols are set of guidelines designed and published to help us in preventing “diseases” like COVID-19, “injuries” and “disabilities”.
Using the Perfect Me Mentality Principle: Life is a journey full of curves, disappointments, and uncertainties! Sometimes, as you travel; you never know what is ahead of you, but you don’t stop; you keep on moving. The same applies to Life: at most times we don’t know what the future holds for us, but we keep on moving and trusting in God. A very good example of the uncertainties of life is the COVID-19 Pandemic (Cruz et al., 2020) that has thrown us into a serious global crisis (Ayittey et al., 2020). No one knows it was coming to mingle with us uninvited, especially, for such a long time. SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, for the past months was a stranger! It is now a family member, co-tenant, co-worker, and a close friend in our daily lives; though some still do not believe that it exists.
A workshop: “Infection Prevention and Control” (IPC) on 30th July 2020 revealed that: “It is not clean until you clean it yourself”. With this experience, practicing the COVID-19 Prevention Protocol, to me is like a driver driving on the road/street. A good driver sees himself/herself as the best driver (Roy & Liersch, 2014). Perceive other drivers as careless, though in reality they are not, you will be able to reduce road accident(s).
You cannot refuse to look into your driving mirror or give a signal, especially when you are crossing or overtaking (Nijboer et al., 2016), just because you are in hurry! We should use the same mentality to help us willingly practice the COVID-19 Prevention Protocols (Fig. 1A). Once you believe that everyone can be careless, you will also be careful with how you interact with people by wearing face mask, by sanitizing your hands when you touch any object, or you will always maintain a distance at crowded places as advised by experts (WHO., 2020).
Statistics show that the masculinity of men make most refuse to practice healthy health behaviors, so do statistics indicate that young men, in particular, are the ones who drive dangerously (Groeger & Brown, 1989). In this Pandemic, I have realized that almost all sexes are violating the prevention’s protocols. Multiple tasks are used in driving (Nijboer et al., 2016) to avoid accident. Likewise, there are multiple behavioral changes in COVID-19 Prevention like staying at home, washing and sanitizing your hands, wearing of face masks, avoiding too much touches, stopping smoking and alcoholism, maintaining physical distance and so on.
If you make a mistake or miss any of the tasks in driving like looking, you are at a higher risk of having accident (Nijboer et al., 2016): the same applies to the practice of COVID-19 Prevention Protocols. Once you are the type who miss these protocols, you are not only putting yourself at risk: you are putting others, especially the high-risk group like the elderly (Liu et al., 2020), people with underlined health conditions (Chow et al., 2020) or pregnant women (Mei et al., 2020), and their unborn babies (Mei et al., 2020) at risk. But, do people really know why they have to observe these COVID-19 Prevention’s Protocols?
Explanation of Why We Observe Prevention’s Protocols Using Face Mask As Example: We wear face mask; because our mouths are the main exit and entry points for most infectious agents, like SARS-CoV-2. These pathogens can spread through infected air, aerosols/droplets (Morgenstern, 2020; Anderson, 2019; Leung et al., 2020). Our two main Holy Books – The Bible and Quran warn us on how to use our tongues/mouths. COVID-19 pandemic is reminding us of most of them!
The Holy Bible warns us on how to use our tongue/mouth, saying: “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction”. Ephesians, (4:29, KJV) also warns us against unnecesary use of our mouth instead of using it to speak against the ills or praise the good of our societies to promote peace. In the same way the Holy Quran also warns against the same use of our tongue or mouth! In, Quran 5:101 we are told to stop asking questions that are not necessary: “Do not ask about things, which, if they are disclosed to you, will upset you”; we are also adviced not to argue with “ignorant people” in Quran 25:63: “The servants of the All-beneficient are those walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, ‘Peace’”.
Figure 1. Stop COVID-19 Pandemic Transmission with Perfect Me Mentality, Practice All Prevention Protocols
In a YouTube video, a woman is seen licked a Blue Bell Ice Cream and put the remainder back into a public fridge. A baby is also seen licking ice cream with his foots and people were happy with that. These practices are not healthful, especially during these periods of increased infectious diseases like COVID-19, influenza and Ebola. The more we use our mouths; the more our risk of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2. So, only talk when it is necessary. Both of these Holy Books warned us against backbiting, mocking others, unnecessary questionings, avoid arguing unnecessarily. The more you do any of these, the more you put yourself and others at risk. Mask up your life; talk less, especially at crowded places. It is obvious that science has remarkably achieved a lot in fighting against infectious diseases worldwide (Echaubard et al., 2018), including this current one. These achievements are nothing if we are not complying with experts’ advice on how to prevent ourselves and others from being infected.
Evidence of People Violating COVID-19 Prevention’s Protocols: Many people were violating even lockdown/curfew’s orders, which has resulted in terms like: “Lockdown escapees”. During this same period, some residents of Ghana were seen happily having funs at a beach party and a pool party without face masks or maintaining social distance (Qian & Jiang, 2020). This behavior is worst after the lockdown is lifted! Tinkorang, (2020) revealed that it is because some people are still refusing to accept the reality that COVID-19 exist.
From observation, almost every day, people are seen violating the COVID-19 Prevention’s Protocols! People are refusing to maintain physical distance and are rushing to wash their hands less than the recommended time of, at least, twenty (20) seconds (Toney-Butler et al., 2020; CDC., 2020). In China, Hong Kong, during an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), 2003 before this one, it is realized that even after 15years “Hand-Hygiene Education” (Wong & Lee, 2019) in a project done in 2018, people could still not wash their hands properly. Traveling from Techiman to Kumasi on 26th August 2020, a driver refused to wear a face mask but always puts it on anytime he gets to a Police Barrier. The next day, a health worker was seen at Kintampo, with his face mask hanging from his right ear whilst he was walking and chatting with colleagues who also used theirs at the chin. Interestingly, they wore them well when they got to the entrance of their institution: this means that some people even know the right thing to do, but are not practicing them.
The question then is, though they know how to practice these protocols, do most of them know why they should practice them? People are seen refusing to maintain physical distance in public places, whilst talking plenty or eating anyhow. Evidence of this can be observed from Ghana’s voter registration exercise, where some citizens who were behaving as if there is no COVID-19, were talking too much; as observed by a global health expert who was Zoomed and interviewed live on TV. People are seen eating and drinking without observing the protocols at chop bars; you can easily confirm this by visiting there to see for yourself, what is going on.
The straw that breaks Carmel’s back is that many food sellers are also seen without face masks selling food to customers who wear no face masks too, whilst talking to each other less than the recommended distance. Meanwhile, it was reported that some food sellers and taxi drivers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Taxi drivers who, though were accusing some passengers of not observing COVID-19 prevention protocols, were doing the same thing. This is why lockdown/curfew is able to reduce the spread of infection by “75%” because of the automatic social distancing (Qian & Jiang, 2020) that it creates.
Why We Should Be Worried: People who know how SARS-CoV-2 behaves, have already warned us that COVID-19 has come to stay with us (Biswas et al., 2020); because most people are still finding it difficult to change and practice the preventive measures. Really, “Behavior matters” (Fisher et al., 2011) in every aspect of our lives including disease prevention, like the COVID-19. The continued violation of COVID-19 prevention’s protocols must be a concern to everyone because there are scientific findings that prove that asymptomatic persons can spread SARS-CoV-2 to susceptible hosts (Kenji et al., 2020; Ye et al., 2020; Rothe et al., 2020; Brownson, 2020). These findings are still not ruled out and there is evidence of “Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2” in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of the (CDC b., 2020; Wei et al., 2020) and from other research findings (Savvides & Siegel, 2020).
People behave like COVID-19 is gone, but the reality is that it is still with us. In fact, COVID-19 is a promiscuous disease, which though was reduced to only 2 cases on 19th January 2020 (Chen & Yu, 2020) has become a pandemic. This is why we must all be careful and do not be reluctant to observe all the prevention protocols. If people are ignoring the prevention protocols, the high-risk group like the elderly (Liu et al., 2020) or those having underlined health problems (Chow et al., 2020) can lose their lives. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, especially goal 3 and 16 (UN., 2020; Skevington & Epton, 2018), cannot be achieved in an environment of increasing infectious diseases. This is because when people are sick, they cannot work and this will lead to a global economic crisis that will not allow people to have peaceful minds.
⦁ Violating the COVID-19 Prevention’s Protocols is not a sign of bravery or a show of masculinity: it shows that you are ignorant or suicidal,
⦁ We should avoid using discouraging words like: “Don’t you know me?”, because the person maintains a distance, sanitizes his/her hands, or wears a face mask,
⦁ Let us apply the Perfect Me Mentality Principle of driving in the prevention of COVID-19. Just as the driver cannot lose focus; we need to constantly remind ourselves and practice preventive health behaviors daily.
⦁ We should still continue to open doors at public places for customers to reduce the probable spread of SARS-CoV-2 from potentially infected door handles.
⦁ Poorly washed hands are as infectious as unwashed ones. If you cannot have time to wash them well, sanitize them with 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer; wash them well later.
⦁ Hand washing or wearing of face mask is not a substitute for Social Distancing, all other COVID-19 Prevention Protocols must still be observed in addition.
⦁ A poorly worn face mask can be as dangerous as not wearing one at all. If it must be worn, then, it must be worn properly.
⦁ The Holy Books have warned us on how to use our mouths, people should be careful about how they eat, where they eat, and who they eat from.
⦁ Those who pulled down their masks because they want to talk to others, should stop and rather increase the volumes of their voices or speak louder.
I glorify God Almighty for His Divine Protection, Blessing, Miraculous Favors, and Knowledge. I am grateful to the entire staff of Holy Family Hospital, especially Mad. Hyacinth Kuupuolo (the in-charge of the Public Health Unit) for being my consultant, as well as Mad. Ahmed Zulfawu, Eric Twum, and Emmanuel Adu who helped me with the editing. Doogu Jonas, a District Disease Control Officer at the Karaga District of Northern Region of Ghana – West Africa is also one of my consultants and I am grateful to him. Mr. Placidious Nubahaabo, Mr. Isaac Yeboah, Mr. Samuel Delle, and Collins Aiden N. Nuba; I appreciate the time that you have spent to help me edit this article.
Author: Benjamin Pulle Niriwa, 23.08.2020.
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