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A concoction of fear and opinions surrounding the virus and its vaccine has resulted in people having a dismissive outlook on the subject and what is required—often forming their own perspectives based on incorrect knowledge. However, many are unaware of the situation’s actual reality and what the medical world is currently going through.
In order to assist Newcastillians in obtaining a better understanding, Dr Mohammed Ali Khan, a Newcastle-based physician, chats with us. He begins by affirming there are currently more infections than noted in the first wave—stemming from the fact, the new strain of COVID-19 is more transmissive, making the pathogen a formidable enemy.
Looking back over the past few months, Dr Khan says he has seen and treated hundreds of COVID patients. “It has been tough and relentless. It has also been physically and emotionally demanding, especially with doctors seeing how people endure the virus. Then there are the difficult decisions my colleagues and I must make, deciding who we can help and who we can’t due to the limited resources available.”
Making it even more challenging, the doctor reminds the community that Newcastle is a small town.
Meaning, unlike the larger cities, he and his colleagues form relationships with their patients. He elaborates, “There are a lot of patients that I know and have treated for a while. This has really been an emotional rollercoaster, seeing some people heal and other days, seeing them succumb. My colleagues and I have invested in our patients, and I feel emotional.”
He emphasises that Newcastillians also need to understand that even if the number of cases in our vicinity starts decreasing, the hospitals are not emptying. “We are still getting patients from surrounding areas. There are also people who want to come to the hospital, but at the moment, we can only hospitalise people who really need it.”
Bearing witness to the virus’s devastating power, the doctor points out that Newcastillians should know the pandemic will not suddenly end. “Even when the vaccine is available, it will not eradicate the virus immediately.”
On Wednesday evening, 27 January 2021, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the national health minister, announced that South Africans could expect the arrival of the first batch of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India on Monday, 1 February 2021.
Yet, Dr Khan stresses people should not rely solely on the vaccine in combating COVID-19. “It needs to be a multi-pronged approach. This includes people wearing their masks, maintaining social distancing and sanitising.” Looking at these safety measures, he points out that people are becoming lax and not adhering to the regulations.
He highlights, “COVID fatigue has set in, and people are tired. While it is difficult to follow these regulations, as people are social beings, it is important that we stick to the rules.”
Furthermore, he urges people to avoid sharing conspiracy theories around vaccines. “Vaccines have been around for decades and have helped eradicate several diseases. We live in an era of information, but we also need to be careful of what information we share.”
Dr Khan concludes in saying, now more than ever, people need to start working together. They need to start following the necessary protocols for their’s and others’ safety. “Medical staff are under a lot of pressure. People don’t seem to understand what we are going through, as we try and combat COVID-19.”
With this snap-shot into the reality of the situation, from a professional, it is time we put aside our opinions on the subject and follow the basic requirements—if we want to ever see the sunrise on the day without COVID-19 threatening our lives.
This post and content is sponsored and provided by Mediclinic Newcastle