By Segun Ige
COVID-19 has brought abundant blessings on humanity but, at the other end of the scale, of course, it’s wreaked unprecedented havoc on human beings culturally, emotionally, historically, strategically, and geologically – to use Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “ly-words” in the post-Brexit ‘done deal’ – which is to say clearly that without contraries are no progression, production, and perfection.
When COVID-19 first broke out, little did we know like “EBOVID-14.” Barely did we take it seriously, that is. First, we did think Africa, in general, and Nigeria, in particular, were immune to the threats the disease posed, because of our skin pigmentation.
Quite funnily and frankly, since we have a hot weather, some argued, then the coronavirus disease could not be destructive and devastating, as it were, as we have it denting and daunting hundreds of thousands of lives with comparatively less temperatural density.
Such groundless groundswells gingerly gave birth to rebels who didn’t give the regulations of COVID-19 prevention an unflinching openhandedness. After the gradual easing of the over three weeks nationwide lockdown, it was numerously rumoured that the Nigerian government could have been providing fake news with respect to the increasing number of COVID-19 patients and death tolls, day by day, and false information with regard to the flimflams of those in the corridors of power, especially, proclaiming to have been tested positive, and then negative, one by one.
Yet, even so, we had those who did appear to have been infected with the disease, displaying themselves on social media, for example, with a bid to resolve the doubtful disputations regarding the pandemic some way or other.
And then we became hardened flouters of the precautionary measures in containing the coronavirus disease. Wearing a facemask in the public, one may seem odd and outlandish. Not shaking hands with and hugging one’s loved ones, even more, seemed unusual and unfriendly, and typically un-Nigerian.
Will COVID sever the ties, that is, act as a harbinger to lovable and laudable “kumbaya” practice, since we’ve got to socially distance from one another in containing the pandemic? Sure enough, it wasn’t easy coping with the new normal where you either, when the first wave was still intense, call the person’s name from afar or, when the pandemic became far less severe, “chop each other’s knuckles;” or even more dramatically, the one simply giving the other a holier-than-thou salaam, or an elbow-to-elbow exchange of pleasantries particularly characteristic of those in the South East.
Indeed, our valetudinary disposition to the pandemic has resulted in a more crucial second wave. We’ve, in other words, been spurning cautions and warnings that would help us successfully and potentially combat the ravening reverberations of the pandemic, especially when it did appear we’d gotten grip of it. And winging it must have critically contributed to the wanton multi-ethnic cleansing of lives and decimation of property.
Similarly, the second wave is on a speed of light whose linear momentum seems to have been instantiated by a very heavy applied force. The force majeure, really, demands a deliberative double-down effort to recede from the escape velocity. Meaning that we have to come together and (as we did in the course of the first wave when the duty of donating and supporting with millions and billions with a strong faith that the fate of the country would not be decided by the pandemic.
That, I think, should unproblematically usher us to earnestly contend with the desperate disease) produce an activation function that’d expunge the exterminating coronavirus.
Anyway, it shouldn’t be deniable that there’s a particular pandemic, anymore, that’s claiming the lives of people. Even more considerable is the US where a surge in the inflection points has been traced to a president who’s been caught in the web of polarisation and populism, parting the Americans, ideologically, in perilous and hurtful ways; under no circumstances, furthermore, is the UK itself left behind as it has more tactfully and intelligently deployed stricter measures on hotspots spawning the cryogenic COVID-19.
As yet, South Korea is enwombed in a third wave because of its perfunctory policies on the disease; Hong Kong had much earlier been in this exceptional circumstance, to be sure, seeing how pro-democracy activists became very vindictive, hence casting aspersions and angst upon Carrie Lam and the like.
The third-wave pandemic, and the reproduction rate, is slowly-but-steadily becoming a noticeable reality in the country. The reproduction rate of the novel coronavirus disease rises when the “R-number” increases. The R-number is so called because it’s the number infected persons potentially pass the pandemic onto uninfected ones.
Technically, for example, when the R-number is five, 10 infected persons are most likely to infect five other persons each, making 50. But when it is two, the new number of infected persons then becomes 20. According to medical practitioners, the ideal R-number rate shouldn’t be up to one. Otherwise, a great many number of people would be tremendously infected.
Consequently learning from other countries’ escapable experiences seems best in that a third wave could be pretty much dire. Going back to the first principles, prioritising them, believing and embracing them, by practising them to the letter, may well be the best option. Even more seriously, the dictum of “no facemask, no entry” should continue to be a sine qua non.
Specifically and crucially, we should commonly and conscientiously ensure and emulate sanitising and/or hand washing. Keeping six or seven feet away from each other shouldn’t a big deal, after all, and we can strictly adhere to it, strictly speaking.
The Federal Government, coupled with other sectorial ministries saddled with the responsibility of foods and drugs administration, could seriously begin to work hand in hand with allies who have championed COVID-19 vaccines. In short, U.S. COVID-19 jabs, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, together with U.K. Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, have now been authorised and approved, and are underway for shipments.
But by the same token, we might well fortify the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, with a viable view to producing some vaccine that’d radically reduce the rate of those symptomatic or asymptomatic of SARS-COV-2 infections.