According to President Ramaphosa Covid-19 is 'a medical emergency far graver than what the world has experienced in over a century'. He told the nation that: 'Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe situation.'
Although nobody in SA has yet died he may be right, because we do not yet know how many people may die if Covid-19 infections spread rapidly into our communities. We must apply the precautionary principle and be united in our efforts to try to stave off the worst.
That is the reasoning behind declaring a state of national disaster and the far-reaching measures being taken. It is to protect the most vulnerable among us.
That's good reasoning.
Yet, let us not forget, we have faced disastrous epidemics before which have taken -- and continue to take -- a terrible toll on our people. Over three million people have died of HIV/AIDS in the past 20 years. In 2018, according to the WHO, 64,000 people in South Africa died of tuberculosis (TB), a treatable disease.
However, our job is not to hold a macabre contest between different types of deadly virus or bacteria -- one death...