Lockdown Diaries: Death is a fact of life we seem to have forgotten

Putting the future of South Africa in jeopardy this way defies logic, but is perhaps understandable given that most politicians are at a vulnerable age.


My husband Robert keeps saying if he was 30 he’d be furious. Sure, he says, we’ll save the gogos from dying of Covid-19, only to watch them and the rest of the country starve to death. Total lockdown risks killing the many to save the few. I can’t say he’s wrong. And it can only get worse.The average age of the population in South Africa is 26.7, according to Worldometer, and only a small percentage of people under 50 (just over 3%, decreasing through lower age groups) are among the Covid-19 victims worldwide, according to euronews.com. So, anybody under 50…

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My husband Robert keeps saying if he was 30 he’d be furious.

Sure, he says, we’ll save the gogos from dying of Covid-19, only to watch them and the rest of the country starve to death. Total lockdown risks killing the many to save the few.

I can’t say he’s wrong. And it can only get worse.The average age of the population in South Africa is 26.7, according to Worldometer, and only a small percentage of people under 50 (just over 3%, decreasing through lower age groups) are among the Covid-19 victims worldwide, according to euronews.com.

So, anybody under 50 should be allowed to get on with their lives as normal, with obvious precautions.

Many are unlikely to get significant symptoms, even if they do catch Covid-19.

Those over 50? Sure, lock us down. Bombastic political rhetoric (“Even one death is too many,” a certain prime minister up north said, flapping his elbows like a fledgling pigeon) and media hysteria have led us to this point: tens of millions out of work, with few prospects of earning a living in the foreseeable future, and shattered economies.

Putting the future of South Africa in jeopardy this way defies logic, but is perhaps understandable given that most politicians are at a vulnerable age.

We’ve become far too sentimental about a fact of life: everybody dies.

Death is tragic when the person is in the prime of life, especially a good citizen. But when that person is 70 or 80? Sad, yes, but realistically an inevitability that cannot be overly lamented, particularly when the deceased has lived a full and wonderful life.

The bottom line is that over 1 million people die from malaria every year, according to unicef.org; more than 0.75 million died from HIV/Aids-related illnesses in 2018 (World Health Organisation); there are 250 million to 500 million flu-related deaths every year (WHO) and 464,000 people were murdered in the world in 2017 (reliefweb.int).

Governments and media are not hysterical about those numbers.

Old people far outnumber the young, economically active members of society, who are supporting the oldies’ pensions, medical aids and insurances at great cost and should never have been taken out of the workplace because of the coronavirus.

So, perhaps the coronavirus is something that nature “developed” to reduce that imbalance and level the playing fields.

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