Coronavirus Updates

January 7, 2021

LUTH worries over increasing severe cases of covid-19

…Says most patients come in late, 20 on oxygen

…FG to start administering vaccines on Nigerians soon

…Lockdown looms in Lagos as Sanwo-Olu raises alarm over spike

…Vaccination could jeopardise our natural immunity to COVID-19 —Virologist cautions

…UNILAG loses another Professor to COVID-19

By Sola Ogundipe,  Olasunkanmi Akoni, Gabriel Enogholase, Chioma Obinna,  Adesina Wahab Omeiza Ajayi

Management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, yesterday, raised the alarm over the upsurge of severe cases of Covid-19 new infections in the hospital,  even as it expressed worry that most of the patients were on oxygen, while many others come in when they are in critical condition.

This came as the Federal Government said it was planning to begin administering the Covid-19 vaccine on Nigerians before the end of March. Following rising cases of Covid-19 and non adherence to safety protocols by residents, indications emerged, yesterday, of a possible lockdown again in Lagos State to curtail an alarming rate of the spread in the state.

Meanwhile, Edo Edo State through its network of 4 PCR molecular laboratories has conducted a total of 3201 coronavirus  tests, which returned a total of 242 confirmed positive cases since the state started tracking the second wave of the pandemic on December 1, 2020.

Also, a renowned virologist, Prof Sunday Omilabu, has cautioned against vaccinating Nigerians that have acquired natural immunity to the Covid-19 virus.

Meanwhile, barely three days after a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, died of complications from Covid-19, another don in the university, Prof Duro Ajeyalemi, has died in a Lagos hospital. LUTH management, which urged Nigerians to adhere to the use of none pharmaceutical guidelines, added that, the second wave of the virus has doubled back and attacking ferociously.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Chris Bode said, “We have seen an upsurge in the number of people who keep treating malaria instead of going for Covid test. Many of such then start using all sorts of steam inhalation and home remedies for their cough and chest congestion. It is not helpful to do this, especially if you are also diabetic, hypertensive or with a number of other health baggage or above the age of 60.” He said most patients dying delayed going to the hospital till very late.

Bode who disclosed that most of patients at the hospital were on oxygen adding that 20 patients were on oxygen at the moment and more deaths were being witnessed.

“The present trend is worrisome and if it continues, it may overrun our capacity before we can ramp up again to catch up. So, let us hearken the directives given by the authorities.

“This is not to alarm the people but rather to alert us all to what is happening and call on each person to do again what we have done very well before. Every life is precious and we implore Nigerians to do whatever is needed to save our people.”

Bode said in the last 72 hours, there has been a build up of cases and Nigerians need to observe all the basic rules. He urged Nigerians to shelve all forms of social engagements, wash their hands, wear face mask, maintain a social distance of at least six feet and avoid face to face meetings with others.

Speaking also,  Head of the infection unit at LUTH, Dr Iorhen Akase observed that over the last two weeks, there have been deaths of Nigerians in their 20s and 30s due to coronavirus, appealing to Nigerians to begin to protect themselves.

He said as long as new infections continue to occur, the country may not be able to control the pandemic and the situation may overwhelm health facilities across the country.

He disclosed that through the collaboration of other hospitals, LUTH has been able to discover new variants of the virus in the country, adding  new mutation can only be stopped if people adhere to Covid19 guidelines.

On his part, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, CMAC, Professor Wasiu Adeyemo,  urged Nigerians to disregard conspiracy theories around Covid-19, saying that the hospital recorded zero patients between October and November, but that the numbers of patients are on the rise.

FG to start administering vaccines on Nigerians soon

Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, in a letter sent to Media Executives inviting them to a sensitization meeting on the Covid-19 vaccines, said,  “The management of NPHCDA wishes to express profound gratitude for your unflinching support to the ongoing effort to stop Covid-19 transmission in Nigeria.

“The Federal Government, through NPHCDA with the support of our development partners, is planning to introduce Covid-19 Vaccine from the first  quarter of 2021, to protect the citizens and stop further spread of the virus in the country.

“This is to inform you that as part of the preparatory activities, NPHCDA has scheduled a sensitization meeting with media gatekeepers as critical stakeholders in this plan.”

The meeting which would hold via Zoom is slated for this Friday.

Shuaib had at a briefing of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on Covid-19 on Tuesday said Nigeria would take delivery of 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved Covid-19 vaccines by the end of January.

Lockdown looms in Lagos as Sanwo-Olu raises alarm over spike

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also stressed the need for citizenry to be more cautious and comply with all safety protocols amid spike in cases of Covid-19 as the state recorded an all time highest cases on Tuesday.

The governor, who however, did not make any categorical statement on the looming lockdown, gave the advice via his verified Twitter [email protected]

He said, “There is an urgent need for us to be more circumspect in the way we live, interact and socialize with our friends and family. Many people are ignoring #COVID19 warnings and guidelines, thereby exposing themselves and others to the virus.

“We are well into the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Tuesday,  Lagos scarily recorded its highest number of infection in one day 712. We have already recorded a frightening spike in infection cases. This spike brings positive cases to a total of 32,720 in Lagos alone.

“This second wave comes with severe symptoms, and the higher number of positive cases we detect, the higher number of casualties we’re bound to record. We do not want this, but for this to be avoided, we must be intentional and cautious.

READ ALSO: NYSC refutes report of rising cases of COVID-19 in orientation camps

On the likelihood of second lockdown in Lagos, an epicentre of Covid-19 cases in Nigeria, against the Federal Government ruling out lockdown, Vanguard, gathered that Sanwo-Olu, the Incident Commander, on Tuesday, summoned all relevant authorities, particularly health experts to a crucial meeting at Lagos House Marina, where they deliberated on the alarming rate of Covid-19 and the need to stop it at all costs before getting out of hands.

According to a government source,  who confided in Vanguard, said, “The governor met with health authorities and relevant members of the State Executive Council over the unabated rising cases of Covid-19 in the state.

“Therefore, as one of pragmatic measures to drastically curb the wave the state government may likely impose a second lockdown soon, mildly though if the present situation persists. That’s all I can say about it for now.”

Edo conducts 3201 Covid -19 tests since second wave with 242 confirmed positive

Edo State Covid-19 Incident Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, yesterday, at a meeting of the Emergency Operation Centre, EOC, chaired by Governor Godwin Obaseki, said “Since we started tracking the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in Edo State from December 1, 2020, we have conducted a total of 3201 coronavirus tests in the fou PCR molecular laboratories in the state. We have a case positivity rate of 7.5 percent.

“These include the laboratories at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH; the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, ISTH; Edo Specialist Hospital and a private health facility, Lily Hospital.

“As at January 6, 2021, we have recorded 119 active Covid-19 cases and 10 recoveries. We also have eight new cases reported from the PCR molecular laboratory at the UBTH.”

Vaccination could jeopardise our natural immunity to COVID-19, virologist cautions

Omilabu who is Director, Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said giving the Covid-19 vaccine to such people could jeopardize their natural immunity.

The virologist, who is currently working on the sequencing of the Nigerian variant of the Covid-19 virus discovered recently, on FG’s announcement that 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were being expected in the country by the end of January, said only persons with confirmed low immunity should be immunised because they stand to benefit the most from the vaccine.

He said, “In Nigeria and other African countries, we have to be cautious because we have an innate immunity that is playing down on the virulence of the virus. “At present, the majority of us are carrying the virus without knowing that we carry it because the immunity in us is fighting the virus and playing it down so that the virulence will not show. We only see the virus’ effects in people with low level immunity.”

Deputy gov mourns death of brother

Meanwhile, Dr Haroun Hamzat, half brother to the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, reportedly died due to Covid-19 complications. He was aged 37.

Hamzat describing it as “painful.”

His death was announced earlier by the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA.

Haroun, before his death, was a medical officer at one of the Primary Healthcare Centers, PHCs, under Orile-Agege Local Council Development Area of the state..

UNILAG loses another Professor to Covid-19

Ajeyalemi, 70, reportedly succumbed to death following complications from the disease. He was a former Dean of Students Affairs in UNILAG and was the immediate past Registrar of the Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board, JUPEB. He retired from UNILAG last November.

Vanguard News Nigeria