As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads following a resurgence of cases weekend in several Asian and European countries, experts have warned that Nigeria should expect to have a continuous wave of the pandemic.
Calling on the nation’s health officials not to relent in the national response, a renowned virologist and former President of Nigeria Academy of Science, NAS, Prof Oyewale Tomori, said a second wave is unlikely in Nigeria even as he lamented that Nigerians were not changing behaviour. His words: “Our own epidemic came February – March, in those other countries, the epidemic started December- January. Some managed to reach a lower level, they open their doors, and then they have a second wave.
On our own, we have not reached anywhere and we are opening the doors that mean our own wave will just continue.
“It is a continuous wave we will be getting because right now we have not yet reached the peak and then we have opened the doors.
Lamenting the development, Tomori called for urgent attention to address the development.
“There is a likely hood that the number will keep surging. We don’t know when we are going to reach the peak. It may also mean that the first wave will just continue without us getting to the peak or the second wave.
“We need to put a barrier even though we have not reached the peak. If we keep to the rules no matter the level of a wave that we have – things like wearing a face mask, washing of hands, etc., we may not end up talking about the second wave.
“We can stop the transmission, but we are not flattening anything and we are not changing our behaviour and that means the infection will continue to grow.”
Explaining why the nation was not flattening the curve, Tomori stated:
“At any stage of the infection, once you keep a barrier, you can stop the transmission. We are not changing our behaviour. We are not following the things we should do to flatten the curve.
In other parts of the world, they started wearing face masks a long time ago; they locked down and ensured it was effective and made sure there were no public gatherings but our people here kept agitating. When they said lockdown they still opened the markets. We are not serious about stopping the waves.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Professor Innocent Ujah, called upon Nigerians to shun behaviours that negate the expectations of the guidelines.
“We have a different environment and we are different people. If you look at what is happening in Europe and America they have more far cases than we do, it is not that we have better facilities.
“If we had casualties like in those countries, we would have been wiped out by now.
“We shouldn’t cut and paste experiences, let’s wait for the projection from the epidemiology point of view, as we go on with management we get a better experience and probably better responses and we organise ourselves better.
According to Ujah, Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the outbreak and needs to continue with the responses in the hope of getting better results.
“You know that in truth many Nigerians don’t believe in the existence of COVID-19, so a lot of people are hiding and because of that we are experiencing community transmission, and this makes it difficult to curtail the outbreak.
“Until we all understand that COVID-19 is real and practice the NCDC protocol on personal hygiene hand washing, social distancing and use of face masks if we don’t observe protocol we should not expect a miracle to happen.
The federal government has warned Nigerians that coronavirus remains dangerous.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), gave the warning on Monday.
He spoke at a briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Mustapha, the PTF Chairman, said the body has continued to evaluate the developments as well as the level of compliance nationwide.
He regretted that majority of Nigerians, irrespective of status, creed and level of education, continue to live in denial on the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place.
“We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th Interim Report and recommendations for next steps had commenced. The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process. It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid El-Kabir) festivities which coincides with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July, 2020 till Thursday 6th August, 2020.
“It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines till that date. Considering the importance of international air travel to the economy, the PTF and the Aviation Sector are working hard to fast track reopening of the international airspace. Most importantly, the arrival protocols for passengers on inbound flights are being firmed up for seamless testing and detection. Relevant MDAs will be holding further consultations.
“The COVID-19 remains very virulent and very dangerous. Our analysis has shown that people over 50 years of age especially those with underlying factors remain most at risk. This position is backed by the fact that 65% of fatalities recorded in Nigeria are in this category. That brings me to the need to appeal to Nigerians on the need for a change of behavior and compliance with guidelines and measures put in place.
“If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors. Avoid large gatherings and observe all the measures. In recent times, our risk communication teams have developed messages aimed at resonating very well with different demographic groups. The common string is the message for compliance and the proper wearing of face masks and coverings in public spaces. The National Coordinator will be elaborating further on this.
“As we prepare for the Eid-El Kabir celebration, we also want to urge all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters and indeed all Nigerians to continue to observe all measures. We note with delight, the increasing number of States that have shelved activities during the Eid-el-kabir and we still urge others yet to do so, to follow suit.”
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The Federal Government says it has so far crossed the quarter-million mark with the testing of 262,579 Nigerians for COVID-19 in the last five months.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said this on Monday, in Abuja at the 53rd national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“With 262,579 persons tested, we have crossed the quarter million mark,” Ehanire said.
“When the epidemic curve will begin to flatten is still a matter of conjecture, given the relatively small fraction of our population that has been tested so far.”
Ehanire also said that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country crossed the 40,000 mark to 40,534 over the weekend, with 555 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
He, however, said that 17,374 had been successfully treated and discharged, while the nation regrettably recorded 858 deaths, most of them with comorbidities.
The minister said 60 PCR Public Health laboratories were now active in the country, which together should be in a position to address testing capacity challenges and ramp up utilization if only the logistics could be improved.
According to him, this will, along with sheer community spread, be responsible for the rising trajectory of the epidemic curve in the population tested so far.
The minister said that the 70 to 30 male to female gender ratio and the case fatality rate of 2.1 per cent had not changed significantly, as two-thirds of all fatalities remained in the over 50-year age group.
He explained that comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, among others, were common among all fatalities.
He said: “They underscore the need to protect senior citizens and the vulnerable from infection, by giving special attention to risk communication and priority for admission for observation and treatment.
“Of utmost concern are still the asymptomatic cases, with the potential to spread the disease, of whom the young and able-bodied can be difficult to manage.”
Nigeria has officially recorded a total of 40,532 coronavirus cases as at Sunday, July 26th, 2020. This is according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC. Nigeria has now surpassed the 40,000 covid-19 marker.
According to latest data from the NCDC, 40,532 cases have been confirmed, 17,374 cases have been discharged and 858 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 262,579 tests have been carried out as of July 26th, 2020 compared to 259,516 tests a day earlier.
Lagos State leads with 14, 300 cases as at July 26th or 35% of total cases in the country. Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case in late February and embarked on a lockdown of two of its major cities of Lagos and Abuja, also restricting interstate travel. A late-night curfew remains in Lagos to contain the movement of people particularly in crowded spots sniffing out the nightlife in Nigeria’s largest commercial city.
A study carried out in June projected Nigeria’s caseloads could top 200k by December going by an average of 500 new cases. Nigeria recorded a total of 15, 540 cases in June alone, the highest for any month on record. July is set to top that figure with 14, 838 cases recorded already.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 case count is 10% of South Africa’s 445.433 cases the 5th largest in the world and number one in Africa. Africa currently has over 790,000 cases and could hit a million cases by the end of August 2020. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with over 200 million people.
Globally there have been 16.2 million COVID-19 cases with the US still the country with the most cases. The United States has 4.2 million cases followed by Brazil and India with 2.4million and 1.4 million cases respectively. There are 648.9k global deaths recorded. The United States is considering another possible economic lockdown as cases continue to rise across states in the country.
About 7 Nigerian state governors have tested positive for the coronavirus. Several other government officials have tested positive in recent weeks. President Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari died of complications arising from contracting COVID-19.
On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi disclosed that he tested positive to Coronavirus.
In a tweet on his verified handle @kfayemi, he announced that his third COVID-19 test had returned positive, and he would be going into isolation to commence treatment.
On Saturday, July 4, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. This makes him the 6th Governor to have tested positive for the virus that has infected over 11 million and killed no less than 532,000 people globally.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El- Rufai was the first governor confirmed to have been infected and recovered in April.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed,was also infected in March and was reported to have recovered on the 9th of April.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, announced that he tested positive on 30th, March, 2020 and his recovery was reported on the 5th of April.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, tested positive last week on June 30th and Delta’s IfeanyiOkowa announced that he and his wife had tested positive on July1.
The governors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are:
1. Nasir el-Rufai
2. Bala Mohammed
3. Seyi Makinde
4. Rotimi Akeredolu
5. Ifeanyi Okowa
6. David Umahi
7. Kayode Fayemi
Earlier this weekend, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom announced that his wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, their son, and some of the wife’s aides had tested positive for COVID-19.
With Nigeria and the rest of the world still battling to contain the dreaded virus, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 28,167 from 148,188 tests carried out as at Saturday, July 4, 2020. In addition, while 11,462 have recovered, 634 persons have died.