Dr Sarah Jackson, obstetrician and gynaecologist in Johannesburg

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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