Prior to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Nationwide address on April 27, there have been speculations all around for what fate awaits the Nigerian people, especially those in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, either another extension of the lockdown or an ease after spending about 28 days at home. Some wanted it lifted to go back to their daily economic activities without looking at the other effect. Lo and Behold! The announcement came and the president announced a week extension with activities to resume in the aforementioned states on lockdown starting from May 4.
Many were happy returning to status quo after spending more than 28 days at home but the question is, are we now free from COVID-19?
The intent of the government on the ease even for states that were not part of the president’s order for closure but decided to in their best interests like Delta, was mainly to bring calmness and ease on its citizens whom have persevered the pain and agony of hunger especially for those whose means of survival rest on their daily economic activities.
With close observation of cases reported by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) since the plan for ease of the lockdown, the figure has skyrocketed from the usual double digits to alarming mighty three digits. From April 28, 29 and 30, 195, 196 and 204 cases respectively where recorded with the usual high figures coming from some of the states to ease their lockdown.
Welcoming the month of May as hope of returning to normal is high, 238, 220, 170, 245, 148 and 195 cases were discovered on each day of the month from the first day.
If the cases could be as high as we have ever recorded at the brim of easing the lockdown when a larger percentage of the population were at home, now that the lockdown is eased or let me say over, who knows what the coming days has in stock for us.
The simple answer to the question is; we are still actively battling for a certain survival with an uncertain duration in the shackles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A walk to some major areas such as the banks, markets and other places could signal one’s sense that we are now free from the deadly COVID-19, whereas the virus if possessed of human character would just keep smiling at the number of abode it will dwell within a very short period.
These places were extremely filled with no clear observance of the social distancing precautionary measure which is to an extent a very major way to safety. The running and free mixing are very obvious and alarming for even the visually impaired to perceive. The view of the customers trying to gain access into banking halls to achieve their mission and those at the ATM stand was business as usual where we hustle and bustle to get our aims realized. Is this the right time to do so?. Obviously not, otherwise, we would be pushing ourselves to our doom.
The best way so far which has helped in controlling the spread is the lockdown and stay at home order. Though there might be increase in community transmission since there are no flights coming into the country, the lockdown needs to be fully and well enforced with all strict measures to strike sense into the reasoning of the common man. The use of face mask is not a complete solution but rather a precautionary measure which would be more effective if the stay at home measures is being adhered to by many.
One just hopes the cases looming to be recorded in the coming days especially after the 2 to 14 days the virus takes to manifest in its host would not cause the nation a mysterious downfall as recorded in 1918 during the Spanish Flu. The Spanish Flu occured in three waves which spanned for about 2 years with about 500 million infected cases and over 50 million deaths.
Just like the Coronavirus, the Spanish Flu came and one of the major measures that was employed was for people to quarantine themselves and maintain social distancing.
After the first wave, people came out violating the precautionary measures administered to them and before they could realise, the second wave led to tens of millions of death. There is an urgent and strict need to prevent the repetition of this which occured over a century ago.
A message from the Coordinator of the presidential Task Force, Dr Sani Aliyu at one of its briefing was that, the fact that there are very few ventilators in the country is enough take home for citizens who seek to remain safe and sound in quarantine. If the cases keep increasing, how would the ventilators be utilised for the such large number of patients? This definitely would be at the detriment of the common and ordinary man who fails to heed the clear warning of the Warner.
The sudden dominance of Kano state which came from zero and became a sudden hero, kicking off the Federal Capital Territory from the second position with its geometric progression and according to a professor of Mathematics in the University of Benin, if what is needed to be done is not done, would rise exponentially, is another notation to enforce the lockdown. Its performance could be likened to an English Premier League club, Leicester City who came from the second division to lift the league’s trophy in the presence of almighty Manchester Clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
▪︎Abdul Waheed Shotonwa writes for Muslim News
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