A Kenyan fashion designer from the impoverished Nairobi neighbourhood of Kibera has brought a dash of colour to local coronavirus preparations, by manufacturing and distributing free face masks made of cloth with striking prints. While handing them out, 24-year-old David Avido uses the opportunity to give people tips on how to avoid getting the virus.
Social distancing is a luxury few can afford in Kibera, where over a half a million people live and most earn less than a couple of dollars a day.
Life is tough and if the coronavirus were to hit this part of Nairobi, it could have a devastating effect. "Everybody is like, 'you are telling me about social distancing, but there is no food,'" said Avido. Kenya has already run out of masks and hand sanitizer.
Avido admitted his masks would not actually protect users from contracting the virus, but suggested they might go some way to reduce contagion, by catching infectious droplets when users cough or sneeze.
Yet Betty Mulinge of the Kenya Pharmaceutical Association cast doubt on this. Demand for surgical and N95 masks is high in Kenya, and these sell for well over $26 a piece on the black market.
Most patients who contract the new coronavirus develop only mild symptoms and recover after about two weeks. But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those with no visible symptoms.
For older adults and people with underlying health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 395,000 people and killed over 17,000. More than 103,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
(Picture Credit: representative image/pixabay)