It has been six months since the nouvel Corona virus was first reported in China, by February it had spread to most countries and was soon declared a global pandemic by the WHO. The first such occurrence since the 1920 spanish flu pandemic a century earlier. The measures taken to contain and limit the spread of the disease have had a disastrous effect on the very fabric of society and economies worldwide.
As at the time of this publication in early July, the number of cases worldwide is over 12 million with over 550,000 deaths recorded. The virus is no longer new as even children and infants know about it, indigenous communities in remote jungles from the Amazon to the Congo have been affected. However life must go on and most governments around the world have begun to gradually (in some cases rapidly) lift lockdown measures as many tither on the brink of economic crises and record unemployment rates.
Nigeria has largely followed a copy paste approach in their response to the virus and are also beginning to lift lockdowns with the legitimate resumption of interstate travel (there are many irrefutable reports of extortion of motorists by security agents rather than enforcing movement restrictions) on federal highways, plans to reopen airports and rumors of reopening schools. Curfews have been partially lifted (now 10pm-4am) and many businesses allowed to open with some restrictions.
These measures are highly welcomed by the bulk of Nigeria’s teeming population with most of the employed living on daily wages and the inability of the government to effectively distribute palliatives. However many remain skeptical and fear that cases will soar given the apparent nonchalance and frank disbelief by many citizens. It remains to be seen if the easing of the lockdowns is a gamble or a calculated response showing increased capacity to control the spread of the disease. Interestingly the “reported” death rate and infection rate has been very different in Nigeria, this could be for a myriad of reason which we will not speculate in this article.
As captured in the graph below, with a low total number of cases relative to countries with similar population and a low case fatality rate of 2.25% with about 700 deaths recorded nationwide, the easing of the lockdowns seems to be the logical decision to take.
Scientists have spoken of a possible second wave of infections (this was the case with the Spanish flu, the 2nd wave was actually responsible for the majority of deaths), however there appears to be no evidence to show this will be the case. Much research is being done to develop a vaccine in laboratories worldwide and there is hope that in the near future a vaccine will be approved as a cure.
However, as lockdowns are lifted the recommended measures by government agencies are to be strictly adhered to for personal safety, safety of loved ones and colleagues and the community as a whole. These measures are;
. Wash hands regularly or use a hand sanitizer.
. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
. ALWAYS Use a facemask if you must go outdoors.
. Avoid crowded places and always maintain a distance of at least 3ft (1m).
. If you have a cold, sneeze/cough into your elbow or a clean tissue, then dispose immediately and wash hands.
. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, sneezing, difficulty breathing) call the emergency numbers, do not go to a hospital unless advised.
. Keep up to date on the latest information from your local health authorities.
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