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EDITORIAL

Danger if we don’t tackle COVID-19 decisively now

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THREE years after the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the disease is yet to be over, rather, it is on upsurge again.

  GIVEN the fact that the world declared it a pandemic in March, 2020, it is expected that  about two and half years after, the world would have  conquered or found an effective way out of the wood. Sadly, countries, states and localities, organisations should have taken very serious cognisance of the disease, taken precautionary actions, provided facilities or even gotten the needed medication to sustain campaigns against the coronavirus that never again should it occur but  these are not there. Hence,   three years down the line, the scourge is coming up again and the world appears helpless.

  IT IS feared that the situation may lead to another global  economy shutdown, travel restrictions and mandatory wearing of facemasks among other restrictions of COVID-19 pandemic..

   INDEED, health officials are once again raising the alarm about the threat of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections across countries.

  IN  NIGERIA, COVID-19 infections have risen by 231.5 per cent within one month.

  ACCORDING  to data from Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), from May 28 to June 29, a total of 1,262 cases were reported, while from June to August 1, the cases took a new surge as 4,183 cases were reported, indicating an increase of 2,921(231.5 per cent).

  NCDC gave the figures in its latest biweekly epidemiological report that in the last 10 weeks, the test positivity ratio has continued to increase with the majority of cases reported from Lagos, FCT, Rivers and Kano States.

  THE data further showed that the country now has 261,473 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 3,147 deaths with total recoveries presently 254,953.

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  EXPLAINING that there was a drop in the testing rate as reported from week 27 and 28, NCDC noted that the number of samples tested increased to  35,063 FROM 24,411 reported in weeks 25 and 26.

    NEARLY three-quarters of the U.S. population is now living in a county with a high or medium community risk level for COVID-19, as defined by the USA’s CDC, federal data shows. About one-third of those people- 31.9 per cent- are living in a high-risk community, while 41.6 per cent are living in a medium-risk county.

  In USA, places  like California, Montana, New Mexico and Oregon, report that the surge is moving up and entering the high-risk level. In Florida, nearly every county is currently considered high risk. Puerto Rico and California currently lead the nation in new cases per capita, followed by New York City, where officials are once again urging residents to wear high-quality masks in indoor public settings and around crowds outside, amid a renewed surge of infections in the city.

  SADLY, the world is lagging behind in precautionary measures and holistic efforts to check the coronavirus. This potentially disastrous lull is manifest in Africa. Only 27,528,710 Nigerians, representing 24.6 per cent of the total eligible population targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have successfully vaccinated, representing only 10.5 per cent of the total eligible population, according to official data of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

  GLOBALLY, as at 6.24pm on Wednesday, there have been 584,065,952 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,416,023 deaths reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO), while a total of 12,308,330,588 vaccine doses have been administered as at August 2.

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  THE  continuous spread of the disease world-wide shows lack of seriousness on the part of relevant authorities and organisations. This is very evident in the renewed rise in new cases globally..

  NATIONAL LIGHT  believes that  this is the time for all to resolve that never again should the world be faced with the kind of challenge it witnessed from  the fourth quarter of 2019, through  the whole of 2020, and a major part of 2021.

  THIS IS  also not just a clarion call but  raising of the alarm on the very  low score call by  governments, states and relevant organisations in the fight against COVID-19 which should have been executed more strategically and more comprehensively. We therefore urge all to sit up because it will be very shameful and disastrous if the virus eventually defeats the world again.

  IT IS important to recall that the early period of the disease was an era   of poverty, low level of production, lockdowns, uncertainties, fears and deaths. Should the world slip  back to that period, we may not be lucky to survive it again.

  WHILE we stress the need for adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as use of  basic hygienical and nose masks in closed door gatherings, physical distancing, regular washing of hands, including taking vaccines which have proven to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of severe illness from COVID-19,  we call on detractors who have been misinforming the public to desist from their actions in  the interest of all. This is because it has been discovered that the bulk of the  challenges in countries like Nigeria was at community level where a huge population are misinformed, thereby making people more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.

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  INDEED, it’s time for detractors campaigning against taking the vaccines and claiming that there was no COVID-19 to hide their heads in shame because science and empirical proof have shown how very wrong they are.  It’s time for the populace to ask themselves how many of those that have taken the vaccines died within two year as they predicted.

 BEYOND that, it is  equally expected that those who led the campaign of dying after two years of taking the shots should be apologising to the world by now.

  IT IS  also worrisome that we have less than 13 per cent inoculation in  the entire Africa while many nations of the Western world has over 80 per cent. 

  IT IS time for the entire world to deal with the disease decisively by being their brothers’ keepers. This is because no country can be safe from the disease until all countries are at per with increased awareness, inoculation and taking other precautionary measures.

  EXPERTS in World Health Organisation (WHO) and other organisations should help the world in circulating the vaccines that were invented within the period, two years down the line and still counting.

  IT IS also time to engage in global efforts to produce stronger, more effective vaccines that would be available to the rich and poor of the world and work towards finding a permanent cure for the disease.

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