FREEDOM TO WALK NOW

ray21.jpgshacks.jpgSouth Africa has implemented one of the strictest lockdown conditions in the world during the Corona crisis. There is hardly any other country that does not at least allow people to walk around in their neighbourhoods. As pointed out by experts like Professor Knut Wittkowski, for twenty years head of The Rockefeller University's Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, Alexander Broadbent, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (a), as well as many other citizens like poet Ntsiki Mazwai (b) who wrote a scathing open letter addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa opposing his decision to completely lock down the entire country, South Africa needs much rather a specifically African solution.

This is not least as we consist of a very young population, whereas the virus is mainly lethal for elderly or people suffering from premedical conditions (c). The total lockdown will be costing potentially many more lives through poverty-related deaths then the virus ever could, not speaking of the financial and mental tragedies the current measurements will without question result in, and the negative irreparable impact to the country’s economy (d).

Almost all other governments around the world even advise their citizens to exercise or walk outside for a certain period a day – as this is imperative for physical and mental wellbeing (e).

Therefore, we demand to instantly stop isolation and to:

1.    Loosen the lockdown in order to be allowed to run/walk at least around one’s neighbourhood (potentially at certain times)

2.    Save businesses by proposing partial lockdowns for the vulnerable and endangered part of the population only

3.    Look at regional quarantine as was practice in China

Reasons: 

1.    Walking/running poses zero risk of infection as long as the safety distance is adhered to (It may be limited to the number of persons living in the same household). According to the world health organization 1metre distance is enough. There is no need to be locked up (f).

2.    Destruction of smaller and medium labour-intensive businesses as well as all informal labour. As every study and all numbers prove: They are the ones at risk. However, specifically the elderly and sick DO NOT play a significant role in the economy. Instead of locking away the entire population it would make much more sense to think of solutions to isolate the elderly and vulnerable or to stop movement between certain regions (g).

3.    As the 2008 economic crisis showed are the children the ones who suffer most from an economic crisis short and long term (g).

4.    Lockdown increases violence against women – women locked up with men have a much higher chance of being murdered/beaten up. If women are allowed to go for walks it gives them at least a chance to walk to safety/help or away from potentially dangerous situations (g).

5.    Inability to move will increase diabetes/weight-related diseases up to obesity which will increase the risk of contracting/dying of Corona Virus.

6.    Walking/running was taken away for political reasons, not for health reasons – our Health Minister initially allowed it (e, f)!   We urgently demand the above in order to keep the South African population safe, healthy and mentally strong to pass this difficult period in all our lives without any unnecessary negative effects.  

Related links and footnotes:

https://youtu.be/lGC5sGdz4kg perspectives on the Pandemic Episode 2: In this explosive second edition of Perspectives on the Pandemic, Professor Knut Wittkowski, for twenty years head of The Rockefeller University's Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, says that social distancing and lockdown is the absolutely worst way to deal with an airborne respiratory virus.

a.     https://theconversation.com/south-africas-covid-19-lockdown-cigarettes-and-outdoor-exercise-could-ease-the-tension-134931   https://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/379199/is-it-even-possible-to-lock-down-townships-and-informal-settlements-asks-prof

b.    https://www.timeslive.co.za/tshisa-live/tshisa-live/2020-03-30-mzansi-reacts-to-ntsiki-mazwais-scathing-open-letter-to-president-cyril-ramaphosa/

c.     https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-similarities-and-differences-covid-19-and-influenza https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/ https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387?query=recirc_mostViewed_railB_article

d.    https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/have-many-coronavirus-patients-died-italy/

e.     Sunday times March 29, 2020, page 21, article by Barney Mthombothi https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/09/people-shed-high-levels-of-coronavirus-study-finds-but-most-are-likely-not-infectious-after-recovery-begins/

f.     https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public  

g.    https://www.uj.ac.za/newandevents/Pages/UJs-Prof-Alex-Broadbent-explores-why-a-one-size-fits-all-approach-to-COVID-19-could-have-lethal-consequences.aspx                   

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