DALLAS TEXAS-Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new pandemic that has infected nearly 200,000 and killed over 7000 globally, with the numbers not showing any signs of slowing down, further shaking the ill-prepared health organizations. As many get infected every day, efforts to discover and test a vaccine with a global outreach are still farfetched.
Coronaviruses (COV-19) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as headache, sore throat, high fever, and general body pain. The first signs of the virus were first reported in Wuhan, a city in Hubei, China in November 2019. The virus has run riot globally affecting 163 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan). COV-19 has spread severely in South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the US, and Australia. The W.H.O has described Europe as the new “epicenter” of the deadly virus outside of Wuhan.
Dr. Akuot Acol De Dut, a South Sudanese American Doctor based in Dallas offered her audience via Facebook video advice on the deadly disease, its causes, modes of spreading and how it can be prevented and contained.
Speaking in her native languages of Dinka and Arabic in a lengthy live video, Dr. Akuot describes the virus as a new ” pandemic” due to its nature to affect so many people in a contagious way. The Doctor advises her people in the diaspora as well as those back home to practice the best hygiene of the highest quality when at home and other places like work to ensure the virus does not infect them and others. “The virus spreads from one infected person to the other. When one (who’s infected) sneezes and the droplets of the mucus reach the nearest person, the virus infects the new patient when the person touches their mouth or nose”, she stated, ” the virus can as well be carried on the door handles, seats in public transportation and it can be spread when a person comes into contact with others” she added.
She reiterated some of the guidelines provided by CDC (Center for Disease Control) and W.H.O (World Health Organization) such as the use of facial masks by those thought to be infected by the virus, washing hands with soap and clean water as well using a 60% alcoholic sanitizer, and avoiding the touch of the mouth as well as the nose when you are outside or exposed to open spaces.
Most schools, colleges, and institutions of learning across the world have been shut down (at least for the meantime) in a bid to curtail the spread of the deadly virus. This clearly means most of the families are going to be together with their children. According to Dr. De Dut, parents should restrict the movements of their children with their peers as they may pick up the virus. The medical expert advised parents and guardians to stock their homes with adequate food as malls and markets may run out of supply as demand will surge, and lockdown may continue.
She further urged fellow church and community leaders to play a pivotal role in spreading her message on the virus that’s caught many people off guard, leaving them with fingers to scratch in search for reliable information. The Dr used the video to dismiss the false rumors that were circulating among the public (especially among people of color) that the virus does not affect Africans. “The virus knows no boundaries, race or sex. It can affect Africans just like it has affected other races. Black people like Idris Elba and other two more NBA players have all been infected by the virus” Dr. Akuot stressed.
She pointed out that this time (of lockdown) should be used by parents to teach their kids South Sudanese African values since they are going to have ample time to spend together as a family.
South Sudan is bracing for its first Coronavirus case since it remains the only country in East Africa alongside Uganda not to have confirmed cases of the virus. Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (all neighbors and member states of the youngest nation) have all confirmed cases of the pandemic.
In a bid to prep the country for the virus, President Salva Kiir issued an order on Monday, 16th March 2020 banning all public gatherings such as sports, weddings, music shows, and all other gatherings that require public attendance for four weeks till the virus threats subside.