Education

Sustaining Lockdown Against COVID 19!

This is not time to let our guards down. It is rather, the time to sustain the lockdown so that the nation can maximize the gains of the last two weeks!

It is common knowledge that coronavirus has no legs and cannot walk, but depends on humans to move it from one place to another, thus the lockdown denies it the capacity to spread from place to place  within a country.

As infections rise, public health experts widely agree that only sustained lock down can tame this corona pandemic!  This is the reason why every state in the nation must  now issue and sustain stay-at-home orders.

Where stay at home is not practical, physical distancing while adorning surgical masks must be practiced and enforced! That is why this column frowns at public officials such as the Gov of Cross River who urged citizens to ignore the physical distancing protocol recommended by WHO!

Experts also noted that when the virus is left unchecked, it infects people at an exponential rate. Each sick person potentially passes it on to two or three others — who then spread it to the next two to three people, and so on, such that a single case quickly leads to thousands. They say that social distancing dramatically slows this process by reducing opportunities for people to interact face-to-face and infect each other.

Evidence from China, northern Italy and, most recently, New York — the U.S.’s current hot spot — suggests that even after the virus has spread widely, strict social distancing can eventually bring the number of new infections down. They also argue that any state or country that waited until the disease is out of control in their community, state or country are going to have to implement the social distancing policies for much longer to stop the upward spiral of new infections. These places are still going to have to deal with the

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fallout of all the people who got very sick and ended up overwhelming the health care system. Many of them will end up dying because of that

delay.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States  and a key leader of the Donald Trump  administration’s COVID-19 response, in an interview with CNN, described a strategy of seeking out and identifying people with symptoms, testing them, isolating those who have the virus and tracing their contacts as the best option against Covid-19 and total lockdown helps in contact tracing.

In the meantime, health experts argue that even places with low numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases should operate on the assumption that there may be a substantial amount of transmission in their midst that is going undetected.

Given the importance of lockdown to the war against coronavirus, you could imagine my surprise when the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, governor of  Ebonyi State,  Dave Umahi, governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari among other state governors relaxed the lockdown for their states’residents to observe Friday Islamic  services and Easter Sunday  services. The announcement of the relaxation of the lockdown was condemned by many patriotic Nigerians including Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)  among others. Following the outcry by large sections of the public especially by medical experts some of the state governors were forced to  rescind the decision while others carried on with it anyways. It is important to once again remind our governors that the country is at war with an invisible enemy that is ready to wipe out humanity if not contained and fighting it must be with the mentality of war and the governors are the war commanders of their various states and thus should be serious about it. It is not time to be sentimental or to dance to the tunes of partisan political leaders or even traditional and religious leaders who may want the governors to relax the lockdown for their selfish interest.

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While we are on the subject of the politicisation of the coronavirus pandemic one agrees with those who say that the palliatives the federal and state governments are giving to the most vulnerable in the society should not be hijacked by politicians for future political gains. The time for politics is over. This is time for governance and the war against coronavirus don’t need distraction from any quarters until this virus becomes history.

While I have noted earlier that the governors are the war commanders against coronavirus,  President Muhammadu Buhari is the Commander-In-Chief, and the medical personnel are in the front line of the war. Famous writer and author Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie who is based in United States with her medical doctor husband, recently said she worries a lot everytime her husband left for work. Back home in Nigeria that is how many families worry over their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters that work in the  medical services to cater for Covid-19 patients. Many of them have contracted the virus on the line of duty and paid the ultimate price. That is why government at various levels should prioritize protective equipment for the medical personnel on the front line in the war against coronavirus.

No commander should send his soldiers to the front line without adequate equipment. The complaint by Nigeria’s medical personnel that they lack protective equipment should be addressed quickly. Our medical personnel deserve accolades for their management of  Covid-19 patients. The number of survivors of  Covid-19 patients thanks to our medical personnel is quiet encouraging thus they should not be demolarized by lack of equipment to work with.

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Agreed that this pandemic caught many nations unaware including Nigeria but we can also learn from the mistake of others and also from the successes achieved by others. South Korea was able to flatten the curve through mass testing. While that is a challenge even for advanced nations like United States and United Kingdom among others, Nigeria can do better with having testing centres in all the 36 states of the federation. This will help in early detection, isolation and treatment.

– Aluta Continua!

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