Brenda Ivy Cherotich and Brian Orinda have come to be known as Patients 1 and 2 respectively who have made full recoveries from the dreaded coronavirus. President Uhuru Kenyatta led the country in sharing the positive news through a video conference that was televised to the nation.
Whereas this is great news, it didn’t take very long for the interwebs to pour cold water on the entire episode. It’s understandable that Kenyans have become very pessimistic about almost anything announced by the state.
Social media has been abuzz with “online sleuths” coming up with many theories and conspiracies about how Brenda and Brian were allegedly coached to lie to the public about their experience with coronavirus and the “purported” recovery.
As with every nation undergoing severe social disruptions due to life-threatening circumstances such as war or pandemics, governments normally operate under a veil of mystery which is normally construed by a helpless public to insinuate that sinister things could be unfolding in secret.
An example is Area 51 which is located in Nevada, United States. This strictly classified Air Force facility was established after the global arms race stemming from the world wars and is a highly protected testing and training range which has ensured that America remains the only superior weapons and space superpower.
The fact that this area is highly protected, is a no-fly zone and with a shoot to kill policy for trespassers, conspiracy theorists have had a field day for decades speculating on what exactly goes in there.
From aliens being held there, to human clones to cyborgs being created, the American layman has become creative over time with some publishing books, others making films while some others “reliving” moments they were “abducted” by aliens and brought to Area 51 for tests.
This is normally what happens in an information vacuum and when the public is generally groping and in a panic state.
Many overthinking Kenyans are spewing speculations about alleged secretive handling of COVID-19 situation in the country.
Brenda Ivy Cherotich is the former Miss Kericho County 2018 winner. She is a daughter, a sister, a school mate and a child of a community. She is not a phantom Kenyan unveiled by the government to hoodwink Kenyans about her experience with COVID 19.
It is understandable that Kenyans want the full picture of what exactly is going on in regard to our risks, preparedness and mitigation plans.
As tax-paying citizens, they deserve a right to information. As well, the government is tasked with managing a crisis on behalf of Kenyans and in the best way they can.
Finding the proverbial thin line between these two truths is where our problems lie.
When it comes down to it, the truth and facts will set us free.
It is a fact that Brenda Ivy is called Brenda Ivy.
It is a fact that she traveled to the United States then to Kenya via London.
It is a fact that after she felt a “weird” cough, she took herself to Mbagathi Hospital.
It is a fact that she was initially turned away and advised to got to KEMRI because her symptoms weren’t very serious.
It is a fact that she insisted to be tested and told them she had a travel history through affected countries.
It is a fact she was then referred to Kenyatta National Hospital where doctors attended to her.
It is a fact that she tested positive, and that is when the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced to the nation that we had Patient 1.
It is a fact that she had met Brian after she arrived and infected him.
It is a fact that after she tested positive, she was kept in isolation and had no other contact with anyone.
It is a fact that after treatment of her strain of COVID 19, Brenda, just as Brian, recovered from it.
These irrefutable facts form the basis to which Patients 1 and 2 were called by the President of the Republic and thanked for their patriotism. Another fact is that had she not had the courage to go to a hospital, she may have infected many more Kenyans and we would be talking of larger numbers.
In the eyes of the medical fraternity, she is a hero for being selfless and mindful of the wellbeing of others.
If there was an attempt to hoodwink Kenyans or to conceal the magnitude of this pandemic in the country, Brenda and Brian had absolutely no part to play as they are simply young Kenyans who have been fortunate enough to recover from COVID 19.
These two also show proof to us that our doctors and nurses are well-equipped to deal with this pandemic if we Kenyans assist them by staying at home, keeping good hygiene and most importantly, not being purveyors of infodemics.
The government is well-equipped to handle and manage all our criticism and negativity since they are elected by the people and subordinate to the people.
These two young Kenyans deserve all our support as they have undergone traumatic and life-threatening experiences.
They have committed no crime and do not deserve the toxicity from our frustrated selves. Let us channel all that energy to help push back the spread of COVID 19 in Kenya and beyond.