Saturday, October 31, 2020

Pro-coronavirus adults endangering infants’ lives

Childline Botswana has expressed grave concern about the potentially infanticidal misconduct of pro-coronavirus adults who continue to flout the mandatory mask law. In the process, they endanger the lives of infants who can’t wear face masks themselves because it is not medically safe for them to do so.

As its name shows, the organisation directs its energies toward child welfare and while the medical science on COVID-19 puts children in the low-risk category, low-risk doesn’t mean that they are immune. In some parts of the world, children have contracted the disease and on Thursday morning, the Coordinator of the Presidential COVID-19 Taskforce, Dr. Kereng Masupu, revealed that a six-month old infant has tested positive for COVID-19.

Onkgopotse Thobega of Child Line Botswana says that the child right’s organisation is aware and concerned about the rate at which mask law is being flouted and resultantly, children’s health imperilled.

“Everybody else is aware of such risk but some choose not to comply with the law,” says Thobega who chalks this lack of compliance to human nature.

There is a Satanic aspect to this nature because there is one particular age-group that is helpless – that of children under the age of two. In the United States, the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (abbreviated as CDC) has advised that children under the age of two should not wear face masks because they pose a choking hazard.  For any number of reasons – either valid or invalid – it is common to see Botswana mothers out in public with children under the age of two. These children, who cannot wear masks breathe the same air with adults, some of them going about maskless in blatant disregard of the law. That air could contain coronavirus and an infant might breathe in the virus.

When schools re-opened after the national lockdown, Childline visited schools to reinforce the public health messages that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has publicised. Thobega says that children can themselves function as a weapon against the disease because they can encourage their parents to comply with the COVID-19 public health protocols.

In a more familiar situation, Childline would be miles ahead of the government in terms of what extra steps should be taken to protect children. However, as even the name of the disease says, COVID-19 is novel and presenting novel challenges. Thobega says that for now, his organisation will content itself with deferring to the judgement and expertise of officials in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

While police have arrested, charged and fined some obviously infanticidal pro-coronavirus adults, the extent of non-compliance remains stubbornly high and enforcement of the mask law hopelessly weak. Foot patrol police officers have been observed to not do so much as caution people going about maskless in public. Naturally, weak enforcement has had the effect of incentivizing non-compliance in a country whose public healthcare system is woefully deficient.

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