As positive cases of coronavirus peak in South Africa – with another 8,735 recorded on Thursday and 95 deaths, the country’s social media users have increasingly been urging each other to wear masks.
This comes as Texas is making world headlines with a similar number of cases – over 8,000 on Wednesday – and introducing the mandatory use of masks. The escalation in cases in the US state has been attributed to leaders being pressured to put the state of the economy ahead of that of its citizens’ health. As hospitals are starting to overflow, Governor Greg Abbott has ordered that face coverings be worn in most parts of Texas when people go out in public.
Many South Africans’ timelines were filled with local and international posts on Wednesday and Thursday encouraging – and begging – each other to wear masks.
One post, by Rajan Malik, said:
When I wear a mask in public:
- I want you to know that I’m educated enough to know that I could be asymptomatic and still give you the virus.
- No, I don’t ′′live in fear′′ of the virus; I just want to be part of the solution, not the problem.
- I don’t feel like the ′′government is controlling me;” I feel like an adult contributing to society
- The world isn’t just about me and my comfort.
- Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, scared, stupid or even ′′controlled”. It makes me considerate.
- When you think about how you look, how slightly uncomfortable it is or what others think of you, imagine someone close to you – a child, a father, a mother, a grandfather, an aunt or uncle – gasping to breathe, suffocating a ventilator alone without you or any family member allowed to their bedside.
- Ask yourself if at least you could have done it for them.
Thanks for writing this
Another post featured a black and white World War photo and asked readers to imagine being born in 1900 where by the age of 14, World War 1 began and by the time you were 18, millions had died; followed shortly thereafter by the Spanish Flu pandemic and millions more dead. Then at 29, the global economic crisis with unemployment and famine. At 39 World War II began and millions more died.
The post went on to say: “Today we have all the comforts in a new world, amid a new pandemic. But we complain because we need to wear masks. We complain because we must stay confined to our homes where we have food, electricity, running water, wifi, even Netflix! None of that existed back in the day. But humanity survived those circumstances and never lost their joy of living.
“A small change in our perspective can generate miracles. We should be thankful that we are alive. We should do everything we need to do to protect and help each other.”
South African TV and radio personality Melanie Walker posted a simple but powerful message: “Hate wearing a mask? Stay home. Klaar.”
Another South African added: “The crappiness of wearing a mask is nothing against how bad it is ‘wearing’ a ventilator!!”
To date, there have been 81 999 recoveries in South Africa, which translates to a recovery rate of 48.8%. View the latest South African Covid-19 statistics here.