Covid-19: We have powers to save ourselves

Steve Aborisade, top; Covid-19 figures for 1 and 9 May, 2020

By Steve Aborisade

Today is the 10th day of the month of May, 2020 and, it is only fair to look at the disease trajectory in the past few days. I like to do this to take stock of our performance. The verdict is not hidden, the data below says it all. For ease of understanding and to drive home the point, I will clarify our situation like this:
Nigeria confirmed her first Covid-19 case on February 27, 2020. We reported our first mortality on March 24, 2020, almost a month after. Between March 24 and May 1, a month and few days, we have recorded 67 deaths. However, between May 1 and May 9, 2020, a period of 9 days, we have 60 deaths! So we have recorded more deaths in the last 9 days than from the beginning of the pandemic in Nigeria in February. I am not a prophet of doom, but we need to highlight this reality against the backdrop of denials and lackluster responses in place across the nation. People need to see this for what it really is.
The rate of recovery and discharge is very impressive but, I will love to be cautiously optimistic about the true status of that. And my caution stems from the fact of what we know of the virus. We were told that 80% of those infected don’t even need to be hospitalized. Before I roll out my drums to jubiliate about our recovery rate, I will want to know the percentage of those not needing hospitalization that are part of the figure we have discharged. This will shed light on our actual performance in that regard. In line with informed opinion, I have earlier advocated a decentralization of our Covid-19 management to include the private healthcare practitioners and the triggering of the home management guidelines for asymptomatic, mild to moderate patients based on the fact above, that majority don’t need hospitalization to fully recover and, I am happy Lagos has taken the first step here with plans to recourse to primary healthcare centers and private hospitals for mild to moderate patients. The full package is what we must engage in no time.
We have to do that. The figures are predictive enough. On May 1, total confirmed cases was 2, 170 and by May 9, it doubled to 4, 151. With expanded testing coverage, we should expect a geometric rise in figures. The problem for me is not about the numbers. We are certain of those to recover and be discharged, but those whose fate remains uncertain and that are likely to lose their lives should concern us. Why this is a matter of concern is the powers that we have to save our people, the powers that we have to save ourselves, and how unawares we seems to be about the delicate balance between the two ends.
Do they need to tell us again to stay at home? Does anyone need to preach to us to use face mask when we are in public or to maintain social distance and be hygienic enough to wash our hands and not touch our faces with dirty hands? With the uncertainty out there, do we still need government to threaten us with a second wave of lockdown to behave? We are so impossible! Now is time for everyone to be told the truth – unbelieving political leaders, unresponsive corporate organisations, lethagic religious bodies, private entities, groups, families, individuals – our people have started dying. What we can do and, that we must do is to curtail the number of lives to go. And now is the time to do it.