COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli says “persons of influence” have been "dramatising" the severity of the coronavirus, stating that the number of those who have died of the disease is nearly negligible compared to those who have recovered from it.
As of Friday, March 20, at 12:50pm, 247, 593 people across the world had contracted the disease with 10, 064 dying as a result of the COVID-19, representing 4.1 per cent of total infections. Those who have since recovered from the disease were 88, 522, representing 35.8 per cent of total infections.
And now, COTU boss Atwoli says the death vs. survival statistics show that the COVID-19 “is not as dangerous as medics world-over would want people to believe”.
Speaking in Kisumu County Friday as he signed an MOU with flower-farm workers’ union boss, Atwoli said Kenya shouldn’t go the complete lockdown route as that would lead to more people dying of hunger than they would have of coronavirus.
“Where have we stored food which we can access should there be a lockdown? We do not have enough medicine in our hospitals, we do not have enough money for research in our universities, we do not have enough books and learning materials for our children in various institutions of higher learning, we are sometimes driving on dilapidated infrastructure, we have heaps and heaps of garbage in our cities, we have houses that are not painted; we live as if we are in slum dwellings… And, you want to tell people that the economy should be shut in such circumstances? That cannot work,” said Atwoli.
“Looking at the survival vs death ratio world-over following the coronavirus outbreak, we shouldn’t dramatise the disease, we shouldn’t at all. People are going to die more of hunger than coronavirus. I am appealing to those who are in positions of influence to stop dramatising this issue of coronavirus.
“We can manage it the same way we have managed other viruses, which were more serious than coronavirus.
“An African should not be scared of coronavirus. Today, if you tell me that a colleague has died of coronavirus, and that I shouldn’t go bury him, you will be lying to yourself! I will walk there and bury him and wait for my time. This is the truth about me as an African. We have our own culture and traditions, and nobody should scare us. I am not scared of the virus. We want to eat, we have children to take to school… As much as we take precaution, we should not become alarmists. We should encourage people to do their work, go about their businesses and take precaution.
“Check on old people who have low immunity, you might say they died of coronavirus while the truth is that they died of something else.”
Kenya has registered seven confirmed coronavirus cases, with 173 people tested for the disease as of Thursday, March 19, said Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. No fatality as a result of COVID-19 has been reported yet, with Government encouraging the citizens to maintain hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.