OPINION: Reflections on the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

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By Isaac Asabor

Before the spread of Coronavirus outbreak got to its present worrisome level, not a few educated and seemingly enlightened Nigerians would dismiss the outbreak of the virus with a mere wave of the hand. There was equally a time when many of us were absolutely reluctant to see the disease as contagious as it is now. The foregoing incredulous dispositions were no doubt exhibited by some Nigerians who ignorantly and erroneously thought that the government was generating fictitious metrics from the pandemics to ostensibly drive fear into the people for “effective.”

Be that as it may, most people who have no doubt lost hope in the government, frivolously laughed it off by saying “Dis government sef” whenever headlines about coronavirus was sighted on the pages of newspapers, or when the newscaster mentioned the name; Coronavirus or Covid-19. However, with the evidences Nigerians have seen so far, particularly as witnessed in the death of Mr. Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari,  “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh”, according to the book of Ecclesiastes.

But alas! Given the updates obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), this is the time to literarily weep, and coupled with the fact that not a few health experts have been passing the information on how grim and gruesome the situation is. According on the 19th of April 2020, 86 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Nigeria. As then, 627 cases were confirmed with 170 cases discharged and twenty one deaths recorded in the country. The 86 new cases were reported from seven states- Lagos (70), FCT (7),Akwa Ibom (3), Katsina (3), Borno (1), Bauchi (1), Jigawa (1) while a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, continued to coordinate the national response activities.

Being a novel disease, the symptoms of COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms while the common symptoms are fever, tiredness and dry cough. It is also said that some people may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhoea.

On average, it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.

NCDC has continuously advised people with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy to self-isolate, seek medical attention if a fever, a cough, and difficulty breathing are noticed. On the foregoing, the centre availed the public the telephone numbers to call.

Given the stark reality of Coronavirus, one can conclude that it is no more a neocolonial instrument of propaganda, as we were wont to suggest whenever the nation is faced with a dreaded disease. We had that line of erroneous thinking in the early days of HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 80s. But today our eyes are opened to the stark reality of the dreaded disease.

Though it’s unclear exactly how contagious the new coronavirus is. However, data has shown that it spreads from person to person among those in close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters). The virus spreads by respiratory droplets released when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or talks.It can also spread if a person touches a surface with the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes.

The issue of the outbreak of Covid-19 should not be treated with a kid-glove approach. If possible, the government can use what this writer may contextually call sledge-hammer approach. Simply put, the disease should be tackled with all seriousness.

Lagosians can be described as lucky compared to those in other states. This is because the governor and the state Ministry of Health through its Directorate of Disease Control are not leaving anything to chance to ensure that there is no widespread of the deadly disease in Lagos state.

Finally, I am using this article to urge the Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, not to rest on his oars as regards the issue of Coronavirus as the whole Lagosians are looking up to him in ensuring that the disease is not allowed to spread beyond control in the state.

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