SOMETIME in December, 2019, the world woke up to the news of a virus spreading like wildfire and leaving in its trail, thousands of deaths on daily basis.
The disease emanated from China, but did not end there as it spread to other countries and later to Nigeria in February, this year.
Some people saw it as fairy tales, believing that it is just another gimmick by political leaders to continue to siphon the country’s resources for their selfish reasons.
However, to curb the spread of the menace, federal government inaugurated COVID-19 response team to help tackle the challenges of the pandemic just like various state go states.
Many measures were put in place to check the pandemic which include lockdown or restrictions on inter- state movements which was later relaxed.
It should be noted that relaxation of lockdown measures does not in any way mean that the fight against the pandemic is over. The fight against the pandemic would be intensified, but bearing in mind the welfare of the people.
As at August, this year, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) said about 600 cases have been confirmed in the country, almost 50000 treated while over 1000 deaths have also been recorded across the 36 states of the country as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
However, coronavirus, though a pandemic, is not a death sentence. In fact, statistics show that there are many other diseases that kill more than the virus, but the novel coronavirus is far more unpredictable than other diseases.
According to publication by the Washington post, there are millions of coronaviruses, of which only six were previously known to infect humans. Four of them cause common cold that spreads easily during winter. The fifth was responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 774 people. The sixth caused MERS in 2012, which killed 34% of the people infected. The seventh is the current COVID-19, which is the bad seed of the coronavirus family. It can spread before people show symptoms, making it more difficult to control.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and various Centres for Disease Control have continued to alter their advice and guidance to keep pace with developments.
According to the agencies, the pattern of disease in kids is different from that of the adult, which is of great concern to the practitioners on the front line of the fight.
At the moment, physical distancing is the only counter measure against the pandemic. Experts say it will be years until it is fully understood how the disease damages organs and how generic medication, diet and distancing impacts its cause. Physical distancing is not the only solution as it has its own limitations though.
Besides the difficulty in maintaining physical distancing, researchers have shown that respiratory droplets from human speeches linger in the air for eight minutes and potentially much longer. The louder the speech, the more the droplets.
Group meetings, even with physical distancing, saturate the air with these droplets and it gets worst with singing groups. This underscores the importance of a protective face mask. The inhalation of these droplets spreads the virus. Thus, the infections of coronavirus cluster in confined spaces with limited air circulation.
Therefore, physical distancing, in spite of its shortcoming, experts say, may be a temporary solution. Hence, scientists and our local traditional herbalists must intensify efforts in the search for a permanent solution. If we must defeat this pandemic, we must all do our best to be part of our own individual safety and the safety of our households.
People must provide a parking space for COVID-19 irrespective of ones status – priviledged or vulnerable, sick or healthy so citizens should continue to wear good protective face masks when they go out of their houses, have a bucket of running water with liquid soap next to it in front of their houses or business areas. They should also wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, apply good hand sanitizer, sneeze or cough into their folded elbows and practice physical distancing and social distancing .
The virus can affect anyone, people of all races, ages and economic status.
Everyone should take responsibility to reduce the risk of infection and should cooperate with government and other relevant authorities and agencies to fight the novel deadly coronavirus disease.