It is time. I can’t keep silent anymore

For a couple of weeks now, I have written and deleted posts about the role we are ALL playing in the spread of COVID-19. It is time we stop social gatherings in order to stop the spread of Covid-19.

To the people:

  • “Just having a coffee with their best friend”
  • going to a “baby shower with only 6 of their closest friends”
  • having a “Father’s Day lunch with only their family, cos family are safe, right?” Let’s be honest, when we’re with family, we don’t wear masks, we don’t distance, our guard is down.
  • exercising in groups without wearing masks because “I will be fine, I’m young and strong”

We all need to put our hands up and be accountable for the role we are playing (admittedly, mostly unknowingly) in the spread of this virus. You will probably never know how much devastation your actions have potentially caused.

The other side of the story

This virus is REAL. Almost all my COVID positive patients or contacts have been exposed by their families. I can’t begin to describe how emotionally draining it is to manage these patients. I’ve found myself video calling them before they come to theatre for their Caesar (ALONE, because nobody can be there with them to support them) so that they can SEE MY FACE, because when they arrive in theatre, covered in plastic from head to toe, they won’t be able to recognize me. Maybe under all the shit I’m wearing, they may be able to recognize my voice.

To the COVID positive mother whose baby gets admitted to ICU, my heart breaks that you won’t be able to see or touch your baby for the next 2-3 weeks, until you are considered “safe” to enter NICU.  To the first time mother who labours alone, only to end up with an emergency Caesar. I see you. I know this was never part of your plan

Stay at home!

Level 3 is there to open up the economy. So people can earn money to feed their families. It does NOT mean it is safe! In fact, our surroundings couldn’t be more dangerous (and things will only get worse before they can get better). This is NOT the time to have a few friends for a braai, a sneaky cuppa tea, a family gathering. I fully understand how much we are all missing our “tribe”, but this is not the time. 

So please, I beg you. If you truly love your family and friends, please DONT see them. Just last week, my own mom begged to come visit as she is missing my children so much. I said “no”.

That is how much I love my mom.

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Author

Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson, obstetrician and gynaecologist in Johannesburg

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27 Responses

      1. Thanks for sharing this informative post. Sometimes we just need to be reminded. Sometimes we need to understand a little more than just numbers. Thank you. God bless and stay safe.

      2. Thank you so much for this. I delivered my baby daughter via an emergency c section my husband was not allowed into the theater this was extremely weird for me so please people stay safe stay indoors ????

    1. I total agree with you and some people still think this virus will go away
      like tomorrow!!!!
      We have many people, that can not afford to buy sanitizers, because the prices are far to high and Government needs to do something about this urgent problem!

      So with the result that Johannesburg South Africa are getting more cases and it will spread much more.
      Its so sad that we think of ourselves and families, but never think of
      the poor people that are trying to survive and do the right thing to
      keep themselves safe!

    2. I know this is hard but sometimes I feel I need to see family my husband of 50 years died 6 months ago my daughter how lives in USA came out for her Dads funeral then my 2 sisters came from the UK just to check I was ok then Covd19 can you imagine what it is like to be on your own for 6 weeks seeing no one after being married for 50 years it was soul destroying anxiety takes over so yes when they opened the restaurants I went out for a cuppa with a friend so please understand other people’s situation

      1. Thank you very much Dr Sarah I wish you all the best in your work. You guys are doing a great job, risking your own lives to save us. May God bless you.

    1. I had a friend who 2 weeks ago had a c section and her partner was allowed in with her and spent 2 nights at the hospital with her. He wasn’t allowed out and back in, but he stayed. They gave them a private room.

  1. Hi Sarah, you are spot on! I agree 100 percent! If you love your family… stay at home. Far too often people think it can never happen to them … dont let your guard down. We have made it this far so dont undo all the good just for that one social gathering that could end up taking a loved ones life ???????? stay at home. God bless you for taking care of all those who need you. I was in High School with you.. Bracken High class of 93… you were a star then and you still are now! Sending love, Claire Marques (nee Canning) xxx????????❤

  2. Thank you for sharing,.people are doing silly thing’s because they missing their loved ones and have the fear that life is short and this is painful to be apart,but covid 19 is going to cause a much longer and more permanent distance from our loved ones by being reckless!
    Thanks for sharing your story and advice..

  3. That’s true this virus is so dangerous and scary that it plays with ones mind at this time I am honestly not feeling well so I am isolating myself .

  4. Very well said, you might not like my view.
    Also you need to see the other side. This virus is not going away, and between now and a vaccine we will all eventually get it. We also cannot isolate ourselves, get mental health issues all for the sake of not dying. We are all going to die eventually. We need to live, can you imafine getting covid and you never get to see a family member again. There is positve and negative on both sides of the coin. I think as long as we remain vigilent and cautious we should try continue living. We cannot stay in four walls forever, and think that will protect us, we dont know if a vaccine will be found or when. We need to earn a living and have our children happy. I would rather live a happy life short life, than a life for several years in total isolation or to die from hunger. If goverment looked after every person and provided food and money security i would say, keep us all at home safe but this is not the reality we live in. Stay safe

  5. Thanks Dr Sarah Jackson – i read that not all COVID + mothers transmit covid to the newborns during delivery… Is this true? Which delivery is safer for baby, Caesar or Vaginal delivery?

  6. I’m going to agree with Lee. There are two sides, or maybe three or four, and more often than not, only one of them takes centre-stage.

    I am in agreement that unnecessary social gatherings should be ditched.
    I just get annoyed when these suggestions/decisions are paired with phrases like “stop the spread of the virus”.

    I’m not a medical professional, I teach maths and numbers.
    The only way that isolation could have stopped, as in dead in its tracks, this virus is in a small ideal community where the virus would starve itself to death.

    I fully understand the potential trauma of having a relative becoming unwell or dying.
    Having had the privilege of attending two births, I can feel for any mom and dad who cannot share that moment, and the days afterwards.

    That said, can we PLEASE get rid of this concept of ‘stopping’ the virus – it’s like trying to stop the waves on the beach from destroying the sandcastle which your kids have built with pride at low tide.

    It’s more about REDUCING the probability of spreading anything.

    We have another plague or ‘virus’ in this country which regularly, and relentlessly it seems, kills citizens every day.
    It’s called roadcrash virus. Around 800-1000 every month. It also has no respect for age or gender.
    Imagine R500bn, or even R1bn ploughed into that project every year.
    The Dept of Transport estimates that the annual cost of road accidents is R164bn every year.

    The powers-that-be and the experts tend to treat the population at large as naughty children who need to be threatened with punishment.

    There, I’ve ranted. Yes, minimise interaction, keep your damp exhaust vapour to yourself with a mask, and attack any handborne residue with regular washing, and totally forget about Corona parties but the stay-at-home punting brigade?

    In March, that sounded good, but now you need to adapt to a different reality.

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