COVID-19 STATISTICS: IS THE TIME RIGHT TO REVERT BACK TO STATUS QUO?
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 as popularly known came as a devastating incident with unparalleled confusion as to how deadly it was and if a vaccine could be gotten. Ushering in the much anticipated Year 2020, the virus which first started in Wuhan, China in the last quarter of 2019 was expected to be curtailed within the China Province, however, escalated from being endemic to a pandemic that characterized the Year 2020 with the familiar slogan of No mask, No entry.
COVID-19 affects people in different ways, ranging from the less common symptoms of sore throat, aches and pains, diarrhoea, headache, loss of taste or smell and skin rashes and discoloration of fingers and toes; to the most common symptoms of fever, dry cough and tiredness. With different measures capable of curtailing the spread, one is bewildered as to why this virus still defies a vaccine as at date. Most common measures used in containment include wearing a mask, minimize touching of nose, eyes and mouth, washing of hands for twenty seconds using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer; while anyone with a cough or difficulty breathing, to seek medical attention, by first calling in advance to help the medical personnel prepare in advance accordingly.
COVID-19 STATISTICS BREAKDOWN
According to reports by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), current statistics as at date shows the drastic decrease in daily cases currently recorded. A statement that has culminated in the belief that the flattening of the curve has been actualized. Figures as at November 2nd, 2020, show that cases in Nigeria currently stand below 100,000 total confirmed infections.
Source: NCDC Website
The trend analysis extracted from Covidvisualizer indicates the flattening of the curve might have commenced from the month of July 2020, when the active cases commenced a gradual decline, in comparison to the commendable recovery rate. The actualization of the decline may be attributed to the consistent awareness embarked upon by the Government, Organizations and individuals accordingly as well as the attendant response of everyone to oblige accordingly.
A further breakdown of the statistics shows that seven States contributes over 70% of the total cases, as evident in the statistics below:
Source: NCDC website
With the above-summarized overview of the cases in Nigeria of only Three million having obliged themselves voluntarily or by circumstances to test for the virus, comprising only 1.6% of the entire population of the Country, some critical question calls to mind. Can Nigeria conveniently boast of having curtailed this ravaging pandemic? The contrast between an active case and an asymptomatic case lies in the manifestation of symptoms. The question brings to mind vividly that as barely 2% have presented themselves to be tested, one wonders if the time is ripe to revert to status quo. Of recent, protests for a different cause have become rampant from the #ENDSARS protest, to the protest of the elderly in Calabar, where minimal social distancing and wearing of masks were evident, questions arise whether flattening of the curve is synonymous with total eradication of the virus? Elections have been held in Edo and Ondo States, with several States calling for a full reopening of the economy from Ogun to the Lagos States. No doubt, with the impact of the fast-declining economy materializing in massive downsizing leading to unemployment and untold hardship across board, economists and analysts have at different points highlighted implications of another lockdown. However, what persistently calls for answers is: “What are the proactive measures put in place to mitigate or even curtail the much advocated second wave”?
COMPARISON OF THE NIGERIAN CASES WITH THE GLOBAL SITUATION
With the active cases in Nigeria still at 0.5% of the global active cases, one can commend the Nigerian Government has been instrumental. However, are they proactive? There is no gainsaying the fact that a second lockdown may have adverse effects of the already fragile economy, but with the first wave outbreak showing an encouraging flattening of the curve, should the Government now focus on the economy solely to the detriment of the health of its citizen; or vice versa? Can a balance be achieved that will pose of beneficial interests to both the Government and its citizens? These questions play a vital role as one takes a cursory look at the statistics the world over in the last two weeks (diagram below).
With the Country’s porous borders, currently emotionally destabilized security personnel, unemployed and under-employed citizens, a second wave, if it dares return upon the Country may leave in its trail, a fatal trail than witnessed in the first wave.
From the above statistical analysis, the recurrent question that rings across board remains: “Is Nigeria ready to mitigate, prevent or manage a second wave of COVID-19”?
Is the time ripe to revert wholly to status quo?