January has already become the worst month for Nigeria Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The numbers point to a second wave, hospitalisations increased and deaths.
Nigeria start to struggle with rising Covid-19 cases, alarm bells ringing according to the updates by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows that from the January 1, 2021 to January 29, 2021 over 39,980 new people tested positive for Covid-19 and 256 deaths in 29days, Lagos reported more outbreaks as an epicenter.
While the numbers of hospitalisations tend to follow increased case numbers, securing bed spaces at intensive care units, to the shortage of oxygen and cost accessing ambulance services, covid-19 patients in Nigeria face a landmine of costs.
It is impossible to have a high number of infections and community transmission and not have vulnerable or elderly individuals hospitalised. They live with and among all of us. Meanwhile it is worth remembering that case numbers now are not comparable to those in March. Now, symptomatic people are being tested outside of hospitals and in the community, along with their contacts.
As of January 29, 2021, Nigeria recorded total of 127,024 Covid-19 cases, 1547 deaths , A total of 100,853 recovered, 24,624 active cases and 10 serious critical. The current population of Nigeria is 209,056,604 as of Friday based on Worldometre elaboration of the latest United National data.
Nonetheless, after enduring the considerable pain of a prolonged lockdown, nobody wants to see the Nigeria going backwards on the progress it has made. As numbers rise, PTF face difficult decisions about how to get on top of this situation and ensure Nigerians adhere to the protocols and guidelines.
If the government does not do anything and lets the virus spread, hospitalisations will increase, deaths will follow and Government will be blamed for not doing enough to suppress the virus.
The grim milestone underpins the growing demand to obey the Covid-19 guidelines so that the Nigerians can be protected more quickly.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, signed an order to enforce the “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021”.
According to the instruction signed by the president, any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under parts 1 and 2 of these regulations commits an offence.
Also any person who, with- out reasonable cause, obstructs an authorised official from enforcement of these regulations commits an offence. “An offence under these regulations is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.
At all gatherings, a physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.
Notwithstanding the provision of regulation 1, no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 percent capacity of the space.
While it seems hopefully that Nigeria may get its first Covid-19 vaccines doses in February to focus on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and put infections under control and a recent study by NOI poll with regard to acceptance of vaccine in Nigeria, the analysis showed that seventy- Four percent do support the use of Covid-19 vaccine.
“The COVID-19 vaccine brings hope that our control efforts can be expanded to include an effective way of controlling diseases through vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective,” Prof. Ayuba Ibrahim Zoakah, Professor of Community Medicine & Public Health, Unijos.
Larne Yusuf a medical practitioner in Lagos, said nearly half of all infections are transmitted by people who are not showing any symptoms, identifying infected individuals while they are pre-symptomatic, as well as those who are asymptomatic, will play a major role in stopping the pandemic.
According to the medical practitioner, been vaccinated does not mean you are in the clear; therefore, even if you vaccinated, you need to continue to protect yourself and others by washing your hands frequently, physically distancing, and wearing a face mask.
“In addition, multi-generational living situations or multi-family housing arrangements can allow the virus to spread more quickly if one household member gets infected.
“Comorbid conditions that worsen the health risks of COVID-19, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes, are also more common in minority communities because of long-standing societal and environmental factors and impediments to healthcare access,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf added, therefore, COVID-19 keeps spreading quickly in communities, and the impact of that spread is great. Testing, particularly of symptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals, is key to interrupting this spread.
Staying informed is essential. Nigerians are encouraged to look to up-to-date, trusted sources of information about COVID-19, such as resources from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control website.
Covid-19 cases and deaths are surging in Africa as new more contagious variants of the virus spread to additional countries.
The variant that was initially detected in the United Kingdom has been found in The Gambia and Nigeria. Further research is needed to determine whether the new strain causes more severe illness.
WHO is working to track and tackle new variants by helping countries build and boost the complex genomic surveillance capacities needed to detect and respond to new variants, shipping samples to sequencing laboratories and providing supplies and technical guidance.
With the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, WHO helped set up a COVID-19 genomic sequencing laboratory network with laboratories in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.
“Genomic sequencing done in collaboration with acegid has identified one COVID19 positive case in Nigeria with B.1.1.7, the variant first identified in UK. We continue to work with partners to strengthen genomic surveillance capacity as part of response activities,” Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General NCDC.
WHO calls on all countries to ship at least 20 samples to sequencing laboratories every month to help map the fast-evolving situation and best target responses at all levels.
“In addition to the new variants, COVID-19 fatigue, and the aftermath of year-end gatherings risk powering a perfect storm and driving up Africa’s second wave and overwhelming health facilities,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “Africa is at a crossroads. We must stick to our guns and double down on the tactics we know work so well. That is mask wearing, handwashing and safe social distancing. Countless lives depend on it.”
Facing a second wave of infections, African nations must ramp up testing, the isolation of contacts and the treatment of patients, as well as enhancing proven prevention measures.
“Our shared goal is to get ahead of the virus. Unfortunately, the journey will be longer, harder and far more costly in the absence of consistent, all-of-society commitments to blocking infection,” said Moeti.