Covid-19 Knowledge Series 5
Time needed: 4 minutes.
Information, they say, is power. The following facts about the situation of Covid-19 in Nigeria is presented to get you to do something – become more active in managing yourself so that you and your loved ones can smile at the end of the day. Here are six facts and 4 misconceptions that everyone needs to know, as we all battle to stay safe from the ravaging Covid-19.
- Covid-19 Tests Do Not Go Far Enough
An average of 1,000 tests are done on a daily basis by the NCDC. Yesterday, 4 May 2020, only 976 tests were done, an average of 27 tests per state or one per Local Government in Nigeria. There are stories of people who waited for days to get tested, and others who died before their test results came out. Stay safe and you’ll stay clear of the testing wahala.
- Testing Laboratories are Few and Far Between
There are only 18 laboratories in the country that are set up to do Covid-19 testing. In some regions, like the South East, there is only one (1) laboratory dealing with cases from its five states. This means that the low figures being returned in some states may indicate either that (a) there is low prevalence of the disease or (b) there is not enough testing being done to actually prove what the true position is. Watch your back and do not complicate your life.
- Men are twice more likely to get infected than women
The data is very clear. They show that 68 percent of those that have been tested and confirmed positive are men, compared to 32 percent that are women. What does this mean? It could mean that men are less careful. It could also indicate that they are not as conscious of the danger as the women are. If you are female, continue doing what your gender is doing right to further bring down the numbers and get us free of this dangerous virus. If you are a male, well they say that to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
- Carriers of the Virus are Not disclosing enough information for us to quickly arrest Covid-19
There are two major ways of contracting the disease we know. From travel history, or from someone who got it from another with travel history, or from contact of the traveller and so on. But there is a third way of contracting Covid-19 in Nigeria: unknown source. Don’t laugh. If you examine the data from NCDC, you will find that 7 percent of cases are from those with travel history. There is clear evidence that they infected 27 percent of the cases. NCDC is not sure how six percent got infected. That leaves a whopping 60% unaccounted for. This bears repeating: 60% of Nigerians who tested positive do not know where or how they got the virus! How many persons are walking about now oblivious that they are carrying the virus, their source of confidence being that they have not mingled with anyone with a recent travel history. Beware.
- State hospitals in Nigeria are ill-equipped
Nigeria is big on God matters and it looks as if He is truly intervening in our situation, which is just as well. If tomorrow, God forbid, Nigeria begins to return the sort of numbers that are coming out of South Africa or Egypt, there will be no facilities to accommodate the surge. People will be left to die like flies in the fields. The United States is scrambling for ventilators to deploy to treatment of her citizens. That should tell us something about the Nigerian situation. Be careful. Take care of yourself because only you have in your hands the power to save yourself.
- The country can’t pay to repatriate trapped nationals
Covid-19 is happening during a period of economic depression when Nigeria’s main source of income has become one kobo per barrel in the international oil market. Is it not strange that Nigeria cannot afford to repatriate its citizens trapped abroad when borders have been shut as countries battle the pandemic? In six days time (10 May), 270 Nigerians will be flown from New Jersey, USA to Abuja, Nigeria via Ethiopian Airlines. Every single adult passenger on the flight would have paid for the trip home, between $1,300 and $1,700 dollars each, according to Nigerian Embassy officials. Back home in Nigeria, every infected person at an isolation centre or quarantine by the government is being maintained at public expense. Nobody knows how long this “good time” will last but no one should want to do something that will enable them become guests of government in quarantine or in the isolation centre. There is no enjoyment there.
- Covid-19 will Not Disappear Like Ebola
Many Nigerians think that, as it was in the case of Ebola, Covid-19 will be conquered and will leave the country in peace after a period of time. Not so, says Dr. Chikwe Iheakweazu, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). In various media appearances, he has continued to explain that this virus will live with humanity for some time and continue its devastation until a cure, in the form of a vaccine, is found for it. This reality is at the core of Government’s decision to implement a gradual relaxation of the lockdown. The only problem is that many people are not disciplined while a significant number still thinks the whole thing is a hoax. Both tendencies will lead to very many avoidable deaths from those who choose to play ignorant or headstrong. In fact, Dr. Ihekweazu has predicted that there will be a spike in infections beginning from today, 4 May, when people are allowed to go out
- Wearing Cloth Face Mask Protects Wearer from Covid-19
Yesterday, our Medical Consultant gave us the shock revelation that the face mask designed from fabrics do not protect the wearer from contracting Coronavirus or the dreaded Covid-19 disease. It’s only function, he said, is to protect people around us. If a person not wearing a face mask strikes a conversation with someone who does and the non-kitted person’s saliva lands on the fabric mask, there is nothing to prevent it from touching the skin – including mouth and nose. Face masks from fabrics are effective if everyone is wearing it and no saliva is escaping from an uncovered mouth to the atmosphere. This is why government made it compulsory for everyone to wear masks when they go out.
- The old and sick are more vulnerable
In the beginning, this suggestion held sway and was accepted as the gospel truth. Not any more; this thinking has been greatly modified today in the light of experience. The experience is that old men can very easily overcome the disease and healthy young men can die. The Governor of Kaduna State is old and is believed to have a preexisting condition; he was still able to beat the virus and survive. Three of the six active cases being managed in Enugu State are children who contracted the disease from their parents. Beyond these facts, records of confirmed cases from NCDC show clearly that the group that has become most vulnerable to the disease in Nigeria are those in the 31 – 40 age bracket! That is as young as it can get.
- Breathing Exercise Can Show Who Contracted Covid-19
The World Health Organisation has warned citizens of the world to ignore a fake test of Covid-19 infection by holding ones breath for 10 seconds, as is being peddled in the social media. “Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort does not mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) or any other lung disease,” the organisation warned in a tweet. It said that “the best way to confirm if you have the virus producing Covid-19 disease is with a laboratory test.
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