The Chief Executive Officer of the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Yaw Oppong has advised the general public to accept the possibilities of living with the coronavirus, hence, the need for modifying lifestyles.
“COVID-19, whether we like it or not for some foreseeable future is here to stay. It is up to us to modify our lifestyles to live with it until a cure is found,” he recommended.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on the Role of International Maritime Health Facilities in Fighting Public Health Threats like COVID-19, the Head of IMaH, stated that the search for a suitable vaccine for the new coronavirus might take longer than some anticipate.
“We shouldn’t be too hopeful that by next year a vaccine would be found. At least now about 13 vaccines are undergoing clinical trials, but there are no guarantees,” he cautioned.
He continued to say that due to the uncertainty associated with anticipating an end to this public health crisis, socio economic life would have to resume but with caution.
“Look at HIV, it has been around for some time now. Ebola goes and comes. If we get a vaccine that is a win for us, but we may not get one. We can also not be in lockdown forever. We would have to live our lives, but redefine the level of lives we live,” he opined.
Dr. Oppong also opined that the slower rate of transmission in Africa compared to that of the temperate zones, could be attributed to the African weather condition, saying that research has proven that the virus does not survive long in hotter temperatures.
He, however, cautioned Ghanaians not to be complacent with the coronavirus as it continues to take lives but rather encouraged the continued commitment to precautionary measures instituted by health authorities.
“Continue to wash hands regularly, use the hand sanitizers, wear the recommended face masks, and keep our social distancing. We should also take care of ourselves by eating well, exercising, and avoiding stress to boost our immune” he urged.
The Head of Clinical Services at the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Helen Tettey urged the public to stay updated with education on coronavirus in order not to miss out on vital information that may emerge.
“In the midst of all this, there are important discoveries that are being made and so when you stop following, you can miss out especially for clinicians. There could be something in there that could be useful,” she said.
Dr. Helen Tettey, who is also the Consultant Anaesthesiologist dismissed the claim by some sections of the public that the wearing of face masks can cause hypoxia.
“In theatre we wear face masks, and that is the norm and sometimes we wear it conducting surgeries for 10-14 hours, it doesn’t affect you. If what they are saying is true, then we should have been affected. Yet, we are here, unaffected,” she expressed.
She, therefore, called for continued wearing of the face masks in public spaces to reduce the spread of the virus, even though she could sympathize with the discomfort associated with it.
“The benefits far outweigh the risks so I would ask everyone to wear their face masks,” she implored.
Dr. Tettey also called for improve social distancing among the citizenry as she lamented that, it is the main precautionary measure that has been neglected within the country.
Yet, the Head of IMaH, Dr. Sylvester Yaw Oppong, said despite the several socio-economic challenges that have emerged due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the positive takeaways from the current circumstances is the inculcation of sobriety in human activity and hoped that value carries on, even after the pandemic.
“It is letting us become sober and return to human values, and eliminating the unnecessary things. And I’m even hoping that after COVID-19, funerals for example would be scaled down,” he expressed.