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Coronavirus is a crazy lesson teacher!

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By Dr Ugoji Egbujo

Trump said it would vanish in no time. He once said it was a hoax. But today it has gripped New York  by the scruff of the neck and dead bodies are pilling up. Corpses are  being loaded into long refrigerated trucks. Trump’s strategic reserve of masks and ventilators have been consumed, exhausted. His penchant for glib talk hasn’t ceased. But his ego and conceitedness have suffered a bad dent.

And the pandemic is only beginning to rage.

The death toll is on a high gear. The toll  in America has reached  1000 per day. 1000 human beings. In Italy, in  a section of Northern Italy, there  wont be many  elderly people left when this  viral inferno subsides. Italy has buried over 10,000. The average age of those buried is 78.

The UK had seemed immune. Only few weeks ago, bars and football pitches teemed with people ,while Wuhan was in death throes.  The UK must be praised for not panicking when others were fretting. But the Coronavirus hurricane has made a landfall on the Kingdom. And in its  characteristic irreverence, it hasn’t  spared the throne. Prince Charles has recovered. Prime minister Boris Johnson is recovering. The health minister is also recovering from the disease. But the death toll in the UK has surged. 500 and more people now die daily in the Kingdom. Amongst them a child. The Queen is in hiding.

We were told the virus was only taking down the old. The majority of patients in New York are aged  20-50 years. The young people once seemed invincible are now vulnerable. The virus is ruthless. In Italy,  fatality rate is almost 11% now. For a disease that is 2-3 times as contagious as the flu that’s  a classical nightmare. Italy, Spain and England can’t cope with the deluge of corpses.

Schools are shut. Markets are closed. Towns are locked down. India the second largest country in the world is shut down. The world is under a siege. Hundreds of Italian military trucks  conveying corpses to incinerators tell the fullest story. Its an apocalypse. The 2020 Olympics has been postponed. The Wimbledon Tennis tournament has been cancelled for the first time since  the second world war.  The Prophet’s mosque in Saudi Arabia  has been shut for the first time since the days of Prophet Mohammed in the 7th century.

Back at home,  Gov Makinde a few days ago joked with the virus. He organized  a political rally in Ibadan to receive some expired politicians. He dismissed all warnings and scoffed at NCDC’s social distancing protocols. At the rally, they made merry, mocked and taunted Corona virus.

Days after the rally, he apologized for his folly. Hours after the apology, he  announced to a bewildered nation that he had contracted the virus. The virus that has taken residence in Lagos and Abuja like most Nigeria businessmen has  touched two other government houses in Kaduna and Bauchi. The governor of Bauchi got his from a casual handshake at an airport, perhaps. El Rufai didn’t tell us where he got his.

But the virus in Nigeria has been to a few other high paces. It has paid a courtesy visit  to Aso Rock too. Abba Kyari, the president’s chief of staff has contracted the disease on a trip to Germany. It is heart warming that our bigwigs are  all recovering. We need them and need the lessons the virus has taught them. Hopefully our healthcare delivery system will smile.

Unfortunately, we have lost two Nigerians to the virus. My condolences to their families.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: 23 persons placed on supervised isolation in Benue ― Health Comm

Most countries have sealed their borders. Sick people are forced to stay where they are and treat themselves. In Africa, new hospitals and beds are being born. Little wonder they say every disappointment could be a blessing in a sense. That is not to trivialize the death toll. The total global figure is chasing a million lives.

The disease has done more than damaging lungs, killing and maiming.

Countries are shut. Nearly the whole world is idle. The economies of big countries are convulsing. The economies of smaller and poorer countries are in coma. Many more people will die from poverty when the inferno has been put out.

Look at Nigeria. Oil has slumped to less than $20 PB. The Saudis have filled the market with oil. They are pushing their maximum production capacity of 12mBPD. But that isn’t the only trouble. There is no demand. New York is shut. California is out. India is paralyzed. China is just shaking itself out of self-induced anaesthesia. Our economy is deeply troubled.

Many more could die from  Coronavirus induced poverty Africa than those killed by the virus in Europe. A commissioner of finance in a state in Germany committed suicide a couple of days ago because he couldn’t fathom how his state could absorb the financial blows of the pandemic. If a state in Germany  has such fears then you can imagine the fate of Yobe or Ekiti  when  the tap of FAAC stops  running in  3 months time.

Lagos and Abuja are locked down. The consequences of forcing men and women who have been managing their sick marriages with social distancing cannot be imagined.

In France the rate of spousal abuse has skyrocketed. It’s become so rampant that the government has leased hotels as refuges for battered wives . Because these wives cant call the police while their husbands are breathing down their necks, the government did something ingenious. It left a code at pharmacies. When wives escorted by the bullies come to buy drugs and the woman demands for MASK 19, the pharmacist will go  into his office  and call the police.

Let me leave you to imagine what is happening in homes in Lagos and Abuja. The Nkwobi joints are shut. Men who used to take refuge there until wives and children are asleep are now trapped at home- locked in same ‘cages’.

It should be a good season for children. Nobody is jumping out before they wake up because of traffic jams. Mums and dads are at home perpetually. The children  have seen too much of house helps and daycares. But it will only be a good season for children if moms and dads do not turn homes into boxing rings.

Some churches and mosques seem eager to gather people together. In New York it was church that detonated the virus. One man gave it to 40 people in one church service. In India it was in a mosque that it exploded. In South Korea it was a church. Let’s calm down.  If we have anything to prove lets us go quietly to Yaba and prove it. Italians won’t mind religious leaders who can heal the sick and raise the dead now!

The lessons the virus has taught are many . Let’s humble ourselves. We are not as strong as we think. Let parents make their homes. A day could  come when they would be locked in there and wont  be allowed outside for weeks. Let leaders build their countries and build hospitals. A day may  come  when they would be  locked in there with their  illnesses.  Let religious leaders calm down  and listen  to doctors because when the virus turns on their members they  will run to doctors.

Folks lets’ stay home. And stay safe. Let’s maintain all social distancing protocols we have been taught. Let’s wash our hands always and sanitize them when we must. Let’s obey the government and its health officials and trash the opinions of conspiracy theorists.

After doing all, let us pray!


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