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No end in sight for COVID-19 first wave in Nigeria — Experts


Say flattening of curve not happening

No end in sight for COVID-19 first wave in Nigeria — Experts

By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads following a resurgence of cases weekend in several Asian and European countries, experts have warned that Nigeria should expect to have a continuous wave of the pandemic.

Calling on the nation’s health officials not to relent in the national response, a renowned virologist and former President of Nigeria Academy of Science, NAS, Prof Oyewale Tomori, said a second wave is unlikely in Nigeria even as he lamented that Nigerians were not changing behaviour.

His words: “Our own epidemic came February – March, in those other countries, the epidemic started December- January. Some managed to reach a lower level, they open their doors, and then they have a second wave.

On our own, we have not reached anywhere and we are opening the doors that mean our own wave will just continue.

“It is a continuous wave we will be getting because right now we have not yet reached the peak and then we have opened the doors.

Lamenting the development, Tomori called for urgent attention to address the development.

“There is a likely hood that the number will keep surging.  We don’t know when we are going to reach the peak.   It may also mean that the first wave will just continue without us getting to the peak or the second wave.

“We need to put a barrier even though we have not reached the peak. If we keep to the rules no matter the level of a wave that we have – things like wearing a face mask, washing of hands, etc., we may not end up talking about the second wave.

“We can stop the transmission, but we are not flattening anything and we are not changing our behaviour and that means the infection will continue to grow.”

Explaining why the nation was not flattening the curve, Tomori stated:

“At any stage of the infection, once you keep a barrier, you can stop the transmission. We are not changing our behaviour. We are not following the things we should do to flatten the curve.

In other parts of the world, they started wearing face masks a long time ago; they locked down and ensured it was effective and made sure there were no public gatherings but our people here kept agitating.   When they said lockdown they still opened the markets.   We are not serious about stopping the waves.

Also speaking, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Professor Innocent Ujah, called upon Nigerians to shun behaviours that negate the expectations of the guidelines.

“We have a different environment and we are different people. If you look at what is happening in Europe and America they have more far cases than we do, it is not that we have better facilities.

“If we had casualties like in those countries, we would have been wiped out by now.

“We shouldn’t cut and paste experiences, let’s wait for the projection from the epidemiology point of view, as we go on with management we get a better experience and probably better responses and we organise ourselves better.

According to Ujah, Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the outbreak and needs to continue with the responses in the hope of getting better results.

“You know that in truth many Nigerians don’t believe in the existence of COVID-19, so a lot of people are hiding and because of that we are experiencing community transmission, and this makes it difficult to curtail the outbreak.

“Until we all understand that COVID-19 is real and practice the NCDC protocol on personal hygiene handwashing, social distancing and use of face masks if we don’t observe protocol we should not expect a miracle to happen.

Vanguard





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