OVERTIME, events have continued to shape societal norms, restructure tendencies and force adaptations to realities of the time irrespective of divergent beliefs and faith-based systems.
Until March 2020, when coronavirus was declared global pandemic, festivities and social activities, especially, during festive seasons, have been free from reins.
SUCH events as Christmas, Easter, Sallah (Ed el Malud, Ed el Fitri, and Ed el Kabir’ celebrations, national days (Independence Day, Children’s Day), community festivals, marriage and funeral ceremonies, among others, hitherto provided ground for people from different walks of life to come together and share in the joy of the moment.
Therefore, when such events, as the ones that make up significant elements of the current Easter-season are being marked, they should be understood as our way of life. They should not draw unnecessary attention. But the season is entirely different now with the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic over one year ago.
UNLIKE last year’s Easter celebrations that were done indoors, as Nigeria was among countries under lockdown due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic that season, this year witnessed a resurge of social engagements that remind one of life before the emergence of COVID-19.
INTERESTINGLY, last Monday, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced 135 new cases of COVID-19 infections – a figure considered to be on the downward projectile when compared to previous data released at different times of the pandemic’s surge in the country.
WHILE many would be fast to heave a sigh of relief for the seeming ebbing of the worrisome number of cases being reported in Nigeria, the warning from the Director General of NCDC, Dr Chike Ihekwazu that the drop in number of cases should not be erroneously regarded as total control of the pandemic rather, it should better be appraised as evidence that citizens are not forthcoming in having themselves tested for the virus.
GOING by this assertion, it is evident that what many believe as winning the war could be only a deceptive pointer to calamity. If the situation syncs with the picture painted by the health expert himself, where then could the hiding place be for people, who lost to the euphoria of the season (Easter), disregard all known COVID-19 protocols while the celebrations lasted?
NEITHER the social distancing nor simple wearing of facemask during public gatherings appeared to catch anyone’s fancy in the consciousness of citizens overwhelmed by the frenzy of the season.
IN A wedding occasion held in a hall with accommodation capacity of less than 500 people even without adequate social distancing observance, more than 1300 persons were found, crammed-in and sweating profusely. It was a typical Easter wedding in Onitsha. In Awka, similar scenario played out as traditional marriage events took a frenetic turn, with total disregard of COVID-19 precautions. Not even festivals like Ofala made any difference in matters of health priority over the pomp and ceremony of the season.
WHILE it appears some people have made their choices for self destruction, it is apt to note that by the very mature and scientifically proven mode of coronavirus transmission, a crowd of 1000 persons at a given gathering, can potentially infect multiple numbers of people more. Fact however, is that it could be worse than the permutation as extended family system common not only in Nigeria but many African countries throws up more number in the count.
THE good news is that COVID-19 vaccine is now available in the country with health officers making good efforts to make the distributions get to desired places.
APPARENTLY, efforts of government in ensuring better health for citizens, especially, containing the spread of coronavirus will not yield desired impact if citizens themselves do not key into the program and do the needful.
IN THE prevailing circumstance, those who call people together in the name of ceremonies should reflect deeply and realise that not only are they putting lives of their guests at risk but they may also put themselves in harm’s way, and nothing can be as silly as endangering one’s life as well.
NATIONAL Light believes that the citizenry’s positive response to vaccination against COVID-19 are vital in this quest against the scourge. More so, society’s realisation of the magnitude of danger posed by the virus irrespective of deceptive or real reprieve will help every one. Else, it’s doom for the populace.
Government is doing its part by ensuring that the much needed vaccine is procured, therefore, the onus is on the populace to reciprocate the gesture by not only submitting themselves for tests but willingly receiving the jabs as well and keenly avoiding every situation that should be avoided notwithstanding the thrill of festivity.
THE negative notions on Astrazeneca should be discountenanced as countries that championed the vaccination halt are now making U-turn to embrace the vaccine.
IT IS equally instructive to hold the protocols to heart any time but most importantly, during festive periods as not all people at events are free the virus.