We must see beyond sensational headlines during Covid-19 pandemic

What you need to know:

  • Preparing before challenges arise means that half the battle has already been won.
  • Kenya still has a long road ahead of it until we defeat this silent killer.

Recent numbers have indicated that our country has now crossed the 10,000 coronavirus case threshold. Arriving in Kenya in March of this year, the virus has, as anticipated, made its way across the nation.

As cases of the virus increase, however, so do reported cases of those who have recovered. Indeed, to date, almost 3,000 Kenyans have overcome this virus. Although this is a number that does not get as much publicity as the amount of infected, it is a number we must bear in mind if we are to really understand where our country stands in its battle against this silent killer.

We are after all, a country of survivors. Sensational headlines recently described the virus’s prevalence in Kenya as “raising an alarm” with others stating that we have “lost the battle against the virus”.

When discussing the news and particularly something as important as Covid-19, we need to look past sensationalist headlines which seek to sell newspapers. These are both misrepresentative of the situation on the ground and do not accurately reflect the efforts being led to contain the pandemic’s spread.

There is no doubt that the virus has posed a tremendous challenge to our government. This is a challenge that has not been faced by either our government – or any other – among the community of nations in modern history.

When measuring the success of our President and government in leading us during these difficult times, we must view matters in their correct proportions. 

The statistics available on those infected in our country in comparison with those who have recovered, tell a story that is very different from the one being told by the media. These numbers tell the story of a country whose ability to handle the crisis and prevent the virus’ spread is on par with some of the world’s most advanced countries. These include the United States, France and Belgium, countries that were hit hard by the virus but have since been lauded as successfully mitigating the development of large scale domestic public health crises and economic collapse.

Kenya is no different. The success in our government’s national strategy to prevent the spread of the virus stems primarily from early action taken. Even before the virus arrived in Kenya in March of this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta began instructing government agencies to prepare.

This included ensuring our health professionals were adequately equipped with much need personal protective equipment, strengthening our public health system by seeing to it that our hospitals were fitted with isolation units capable of handling a large number of cases, and stocking up on test kits that would facilitate mass testing. 

This foresight displayed by the government prevented shortages in our country.

Such adequate preparation would also not have been possible without the relationships cultivated by the President with other global leaders from countries like the United States and China.  

 The early preparation led to the high recovery rate that we are seeing today. Preparing before challenges arise means that half the battle has already been won.  

Kenya still has a long road ahead of it until we defeat this silent killer. However, victory must be encouraged with positive news and not misinformation that discourages our population. Aside from destroying morale, this undermines the efforts being made by the government to keep us all safe. 

We are all wise enough to look beyond the headlines and question the way in which issues that impact each and every one of us are being framed. We also know how divisive politics can be in our country and the propensity of certain elements to try to ridicule and undermine our democratically elected government at all costs. Let us together look beyond these cynical efforts, remaining strong and empowered for the future of our country. 

Mr Kwinga is a political scientist. [email protected]