Learning to Keep an Eye Out

By Esther Zoza

Waiting for a store to open in Old Havana. Foto: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – Between COVID-19, shortages of basic essentials, African giant snails that keep reappearing in gardens and fields, the lines, and Dengue, Havana residents always have something to worry about. Now there are even more reasons to keep an eye out.

I have a friend who, tormented by social distancing and the daily hunt for food, didn’t notice that weeds had taken over her backyard. By the time she’d realized, it was too late and she paid for her lack of attention, along with her daughter, at the capital’s Freyde Andrade hospital, with the irrefutable diagnosis of Dengue fever.

Dengue takes advantage of the beginning of the rainy season – May and June – to reappear year after year in our country. However, given the fact that rain can appear in Cuba at any time, you can never let your guard down.  We need to find a way of focusing on the present moment.

Only prevention will keep us alive, but… how can you prevent Dengue when we are up to our elbows just trying to fight and survive COVID-19? We know that this new disease can be fatal, and we need to take lots of precautions not only for ourselves and our family, but as citizens on this planet where we need to take care for one another.

Information is key when it comes to keeping healthy. A person infected with Dengue can pass on the disease for a week or two. Every female Aedes Aegypti mosquito that bites a sick person, then spreads dengue fever, which could become serious or not, even fatal, if it develops into dengue hemorrhagic fever.

So, contact with COVID-19 is more than clear: prevention, responsibility, attention, and judgement are more important than ever.

Looking outside of ourselves and focusing on what is going on around us. Not overlooking the weeds that are growing, which the rain leaves behind, because it’s not just puddles. We must make the most of this time at home. This includes checking possible water tanks, dusting off mosquito nets and metal nets. keeping an insect repellent at hand.

Telling our children what to do is also important. And especially remembering that Dengue is still out there in times of COVID-19. This reaffirms just how much we can do for everybody’s wellbeing, if we all keep a watchful eye out.

One thought on “Learning to Keep an Eye Out

  • A sensible article. Cuba’s backyards contain lots of potential problems, but the grey suited spraying “brigades” supposedly preventing mosquito breeding, operated within the homes, not the backyards. The question raised by Esther Zosa applies in other countries regarding influenza.

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