COVID-19: Lessons, Challenges and Solutions

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By Ganza Ndahayo (JS1 student)

On 31st December 2019, the first report of a new virus that causes a variety of diseases in humans and other animals was confirmed by the WHO (World Health Organization) in Wuhan, China. The zoonotic SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) which is the virus that causes COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019), is still actually being identified by scientists and the public health officials as to what the source could be. As it spreads through all four different parts of the world, it has changed forever our ways of communicating, socializing, and hygiene.

With uprising and chaotic numbers of confirmed cases and deaths, a lot of remodelling has been done. In my own experience, as a student, the alterations from school to home have been mind-blowing. A new method of learning has been established, not being able to go outside which has forced me to find new things to do off studying hours, new methods of communicating with the ones I’ve lost touch with, and most exhilarating of all, seeing my family and relatives daily which has resulted in more time of bonding, including new ways of exercising together. For the first time in a long time, I had to spend up to two months with my parents and siblings.

What I have learned is that to survive in this kind of period, we have to take care of ourselves. To do so, adapting skills are primordial. For example, I have always been used to playing outside with my siblings and our neighbours, but to prevent the spread of the virus, our outdoor activities have been modified to imitating YouTube fitness channels just to stay in shape. I have also acquired new knowledge in learning and communicating which has switched from direct interacting to online. My parents who are very strict with education, have now transformed into invigilators.

Besides, this ambiguous period has brought a few challenges. Staying home has broken every ounce of privacy I once had. Not to mention the distancing in itself which has not helped my situation in any way, but has added several loads to my body – wearing masks, making sure to have a sanitizer – and my habits -washing hands with soap as often as possible-. Furthermore, to survive I have to stay «healthy» for, in this stressful time, we are often tempted to go out of our ways and develop bad tendencies such as food disorder. Not to mention, mental health can be jeopardized by confinement because of the restrains from going out and interacting with others and the outside world, therefore, reducing our thinking abilities.

To stay home and stay safe, we have to plan our daily activities. This is one of the solutions I have found effective. To this, you add finding ways to keep in touch with the ones you love through some apps or sites because this is the advantage of today’s world, and also add rigorous discipline in implementing hygienic measures, plus exercising (like I do with YouTube) and eating right, and you will find yourself not only surviving but thriving in productivity. Our parents have also come up with motivational presentations in which my siblings and I take part and have learned a lot. That’s our way of keeping our mental health in check.

In conclusion, although this still ongoing bittersweet situation may seem like a never-ending one, it has taught us to be ready for the unpredictable and to adapt ourselves to survive. Frankly, because of this period, I will never underestimate the power of human contact and everything that has to do with the outside world again.