The COVID-19 epidemic can greatly hit the Homel region.
The epidemic of coronavirus is spreading in the regions of Belarus. People under 40 are increasingly becoming victims of COVID-19 in the Homel region. Eyewitnesses inform that ambulances hospitalize the infected even at night.
A public activist from Homel, representative of the Belarusian National Congress Ales Yevseenka told in an interview with Charter97.org why the epidemic could increasingly infect the Homel region.
- What does your family do during the epidemic of COVID-19? Has the disease hit any of your acquaintances?
- Yes. A friend of our family now often goes to Minsk. Her son is hospitalized with coronavirus. He had a severe form of asthma in childhood. Now the disease has quite a serious form, although now the condition is stable. At the moment our friend's son is in intensive care... You know, it's always hard to hear such news. We hope everything will end well.
There is still a huge risk for our family to catch the coronavirus: my wife works at school. The authorities refuse to introduce quarantine. Children, by and large, are "invisible" carriers of this infection. They often have no symptoms and there is a quite high chance to of catching the infection. Why does the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education fail to realise it?
People try to keep children at home. Yesterday one class had only 5 people in my wife's class and 12 in the second. At least half the class is always absent, but no one is allowed to "vacation". This strange "war" against parents and teachers brings in additional tension.
- What is the real situation with coronavirus in Homel and the region?
- People working in medical institutions are the best indicator of it.
Our relative works in the city infectious diseases hospital and says that the virus is spreading in the city and the region. The epidemic is running rampant. People feel it, but many do not know what to do. For example, our relative's friends stopped calling her, as if they are afraid to get infected through the phone.
But we know for sure that the number of COVID-19 cases is growing and the number of deaths is increasing. Every day one can see lines of ambulances on the streets.
At the same time the authorities' attempts to conceal the scale of the disease look miserable and ridiculous. Recently, there has been an illustrative case: a team of doctors dressed as "cosmonauts" arrived at the multi-storey building where my friends live. People burst into panic wondering what was going on. Do you know what they said? "Neighbours called us to spray for roaches"...
It is clear that paramedics acted on the instruction from above: to hide all the facts about the epidemic, if possible. In this sense, there are no claims against ordinary physicians. On the contrary, people sympathize with them. The number of infected medical staff is much higher than that in the EU countries. In Homel, the coronavirus hits physicians of the regional oncologic dispensary and the regional clinical hospital.
People show their their discontent with health care officials and officials in general.
- How do they express it?
- You see, local executive committees have become something like "unassailable fortresses" in the middle of the city drowning in coronavirus.
People say that officials have done their best not to get infected. They care only about themselves, and they have not left "lifeboats" for ordinary people.
Officials, if they want, may not let children go to school - they will still be given grades they need. No one can enter the executive committee now, the police guard the entrance. If necessary, one can bring documents, they will be handed over. It's barely possible to get through such a "border post".
Although there are funny stories with these "fortresses" as well. One acquaintance came to the executive committee and, of course, used a hand sanitizer. The next day she asked a policeman why the solution had had a strong smell, but that day it didn't smell at all? It turned out that the policeman poured in water instead of the solution when it was over to avoid a reprimand for an empty bottle.
It sounds like an anecdote, but it's not really funny.
The coronavirus situation is close to critical. Health workers I know are waiting for the height of the epidemic. In their opinion, it is expected in early June. It's caused by May 9 and Tuesday after Quasimodo. In Homel, a large wave of coronavirus is now rising. It may hit the city and the region harder than other regions of Belarus.
- Why do you think so?
- First, Homel and the region is an important industrial area. There is a large concentration of large enterprises. Many factories of the region, for example Zhlobin BMZ, have already become epicenters of coronavirus.
Secondly, a lot of young people die from coronavirus in Homel.
For example, the head of a kindergarten, Tatstsiana Nevirkovets, who was only 36, has recently died. A girl of 21 years old died in the fourth city hospital.
I have recently watched a documentary about those who died in World War II. There was a graduation photo of the year 1923. It turned out that 90% of that year's graduates didn't return from the war. Then the footage showed winners in the war: there were almost no young people among them.
It increasingly reminded me of the situation with the coronavirus: the young is more careless; they think that the epidemic will not affect them. "We are so fast and strong, everything will pass us by".
People with life experience know that nothing will "pass by" unless you take care of it. In Homel, young people are hanging out in the city. Parents do not let teenagers go to school, but they walk around the city...
There are neither quarantine nor even some public awareness campaign. Given carelessness of young people, it will certainly result in a large-scale spread of the virus.
Another important factor for the Homel region: due to the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, people in the region have poor immunity. The number of cases of cancer and chronic diseases among the population is high.
Therefore, an even larger coronavirus outbreak may soon occur in the Homel region than in other regions.