The Coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly rocked the entire world; as humans we have been through the ringer with this one, at first it was only a few infected… then more people… then suddenly we had no tissue paper anywhere! Whilst we got continuous updates (some would say factual) from many news broadcasting stations, for a lot of communities, the impact of the virus was just not understood.
I’ll admit in the beginning I fell foul to the myth that ‘Black people cannot get Coronavirus’. In fact, I was told this by a very close person to me, so when you’re told this information by someone you trust why would you believe the news? Except now, there’s been over 39,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in the UK and weeks of isolation. I had been breathing the same recycled air for so long that I bought candles so it’s aromatic recycled air now. The UK lockdown has affected us all in one way or another.
With the government having urged people to work from home if at all possible and stressing the need for those with symptoms to self-isolate, the pandemic can truly be said to have affected every aspect of life.
So why didn’t the Afro-Caribbean community believe we could be affected? Perhaps because Africans are the oldest Homo-sapiens on the planet? Or because Africans have survived through 400 years of atrocity? I think I can say from a Caribbean background… it’s the good old-fashioned belief in Naturopathic and Homeopathic medicines and if you’re wondering what I mean, I’m talking about tea.
For years, Caribbeans have relied on different bushes and herbs as medicines and for the most part it has worked. This has probably played a part in believing we’ve been protecting ourselves from viruses and illnesses since the beginning of time. Slowly however, there was a rise of WhatsApp chain messages regarding the dangers of the virus (and a fall in everyone’s phone storage space). Why? Because it soon became clear that black people aren’t immune, it just took a quick message from Aunt Vivian’s Uncle’s sister’s brother’s cousin’s wife’s son to enforce the seriousness of it all. Although, Whatsapp messages can be misleading, if they are what it takes to keep my aunties and uncles indoors and safe, then I’m on board. As a community, we tend to have a “I’ll just get on with it” mentality and I completely understand, there are things we have to do, it’s difficult to adjust to a new normal and instructions like “STAY AT HOME” but we have to. Whilst it sucks, it is important to mainly stay indoors and take a look at the brighter side. We have been afforded the opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, our families and our loved ones.
Some of us have lost people close to us as a result of believing we were immune and whilst we should continue our practice of believing in homeopathic remedies, we should also follow government advice. These things can be done synonymously – drink ginger and pimento tea while you stay at home or alert. As there is no cure yet for this virus, it’s important that the younger generation emphasise the importance of staying at home to our elder members of the community and keep them as safe as we possibly can.
As a community of course, it is recognised how important it is to keep your body healthy by not eating unhealthy foods all the time, drinking water, minding your business, getting the required amount of sleep and exercising. These are all factors that come to play in our general and overall health. This is because anyone can get the virus and no matter how strong you may be, you are not yet immune.
By Elisha Lindsay