COVID 19: SECOND WAVE INFECTIONS AND DEATH MIGHT COME SILENTLY
In February when COVID-19 hit the Nigerian territory, there was a misconception that the disease was wholly for the rich. As time went by, the Coronavirus hit the community spreading stage, and the people began hearing of ordinary Nigerians testing positive for the Coronavirus.
As numbers of affected persons grew, sceptics began questioning the existence of the Coronavirus while cynics claimed that it was a ploy to get access to international funds.
However, when Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Buhari died from complications from the Coronavirus, cynics were silenced. Kyari and other Very Important Personalities who died from coronavirus complications convinced the populace that COVID-19 is real, and more importantly, it was no respecter of persons.
Citizens stayed home and followed the directives of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
Recall Nigeria shut its international airspace in March as part of measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, making it difficult for the elites to jet out for medical treatment abroad.
All non-essential workers were forced to close business and stay at home.
However, the need for the masses to go out to irk a living forced the government to lift its restrictions on economic activities.
As nations continue to find a vaccine and cure for coronavirus infections, countries around the world, including Nigeria has begun opening up its economy.
This, in turn, means Nigerian elites can now travel abroad for medical treatment.
Unfortunately, COVID 19 is a viral infection that still has no vaccine. Hence, preventive measures such as handwashing, wearing a mask and social distancing remains the only way to curb the spread of the virus.
However, since economic activities have resumed in Nigeria, the people have thrown caution to the wind. Commercial bus operators now carry passengers to full capacity, markets are overcrowded, and most of the commuters have stopped bothering with the use of face masks.
Experts have warned that the coast is not clear as regards COVID 19 as asymptomatic careers can infect others unknowingly.
Nigeria, a nation of over 200 million people, has so far carried out only 442,075 coronavirus tests as of Monday, September 14, 2020, according to NCDC data.
Out of the samples tested, 56,256 persons have tested positive, 44,152 have been discharged, and 1,082 persons have died of Coronavirus complications.
The data may not look scary, but there are high tendencies that a number of people in the country are asymptomatic carriers.
The similarity of COVID-19 symptoms to malaria and fever- Nigeria’s most common ailment further makes early suspicion of COVID 19 difficult as a lot of people are likely to self-medicate with malaria drugs.
There is a real danger of Nigeria suffering a second, even a third wave of COVID 19 infection without authorities capturing it due to lack of adequate testing.
Until an effective vaccine or cure for COVID 19 is approved, the coast is not yet clear.
The oncoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo pose one of the highest risks. NCDC, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, and other health and security officials have the herculean task to ensure that COVID 19 protocols are enforced.
Massive rural and urban sensitisation on COVID 19 prevention must continue to avoid asymptomatic carriers from spreading the COVID 19 virus to their loved ones.
Author: DAMILOLA ODUTAYO