BY: Dukor Mevi.
I have observed with great consternation, even surprise, and I’m sure you too have, that most Ghanaians do not believe COVID-19 is real in spite of very compelling evidence including the spiraling infections and rising fatalities.
Aside from what’s happening locally, the media is replete with news of the mounting death toll across the world, especially the United States and Europe. While the jury or rather scientists are still out on why Africans are not dying as much as people from the aforementioned countries, it is incontrovertible that COVID-19 is deadly and killing Africans too.
So, it is surprising that in the face of all these, Ghanaians, to be more specific, still doubt the reality of the virus. This skepticism has led to the dismissive even derisive and dangerous disposition of people to every warning and danger sign. There are three major factors fuelling the skepticism.
- One, which is unfortunate but not too far from the truth, is the fact that people are not dropping dead as they are in the US and Europe.
- Two, the body language of influential Ghanaians.
- And three, the role of religious leaders and conspiracy theorists.
As I already promised, it’s not untrue that Ghanaians are not dropping dead everywhere you look, but it is equally not untrue that the virus is killing Ghanaians. We’ve lost over 340 lives, precious lives, many of who are people we know, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends, and families. How many more do we have to lose before we start believing and taking the pandemic seriously?
If COVID-19 is as deadly as the government purports, people are asking, how come it is the same government that took such a dangerous policy decision? That’s one.
Secondly, most government officials, political leaders, influential people, and celebrities have generally carried on like there’s no COVID-19. It is not a rare sight to see them at events (otherwise super spreaders) without masks and not observing social distancing. During the Christmas and New Year festivities, many damned the warnings and hosted or attended weddings, funerals, chieftaincy ceremonies, etc. As we say in communication, perception is reality.
A perception gap analysis shows that there is a big gap between what the aforementioned influential people are saying and what they are actually doing. This gap is what the ignorant and skeptical are exploiting to doubt the existence of COVID-19.
Recently, we read of the emergence of a new mutated strain of the virus in the UK, the US, and South Africa. One would have expected the government to respond by banning flights from those countries but no, it didn’t. And it hasn’t. The reason adduced for the shocking decision was, if neighboring countries didn’t ban flights from those countries, it wouldn’t make any difference to ban them from Ghana. What an excuse! Hard to believe! Of course, the consequence is the unrestrained influx of Ghanaians vacationing from those destinations with scant regard for the government’s quarantine and other safety guidelines.
There’s also the little matter of “payment for negative test results”, which was widely reported by many media organizations and some observant individuals on social media. That has contributed to putting a lie to the story of COVID-19 and even further fuelled the sorry belief that COVID-19 is a smokescreen for government officials to steal public funds.
Finally, there’s the scandalous effort of religious leaders save for a few to dismiss the existence of COVID-19. Notwithstanding that they neither predicted nor cured COVID-19, these greedy religious leaders have stridently undermined the government’s effort to create awareness for the pandemic and curtail the spread. It could be out of pecuniary considerations or ignorance but these influential religious leaders have misled several millions of their ardent followers.
N.B: Views expressed in the article are solely that of the writer and have nothing to do with that of the online portal and organization.