News analysis: Covid-19 and its challenges

News analysis: Covid-19 and its challenges

Saturday, September 5, 2020 3:10 pm

Treatment of Coronavirus victims. Credit, The Straits Times

By Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

The Coronavirus disease crept on humanity like a thief at night. It came to kill, maim and to destroy as Jesus Christ would immortally describe the visit of that unsolicited visitor. It also came suddenly to enforce radical changes in human society. Disobey it at your own peril. Some states or communities opted to deny

Historians and those in the business of  rewarding uniqueness, need not search far this  year. Our novel visitor has become the undisputable man of the year in 2020. The race should still be open though. After all, we are yet to begin the journey into the last quarter of the year.

As they say, anything can still happen. But it will take a miracle or another monster for anyone to outshine this dubious entrant. It seems to have cornered the medal by its or her natural endowments. I wonder what gender is most fitting for her attributes male, female or neuter?

What makes the virus so “tick”? Humanity knows so little about it. Scientists are still working round the clock to unravel it. What researchers knew about it was changing per time. For instance, one moment they say it is not air burn, the next it is. Asymptomatic careers can transmit the disease at one time, at another they cannot. Like a chameleon, our knowledge about the virus keeps changing at short notice.

The disease as at today has no definite cure. No specific drugs. No vaccines could check its damages. So, for over ten months it has continued its sometimes fatal devastations across the globe. As it continued its opacity to medical science its best remedy is not to be  infected by it. Non pharmaceutical options thus became the best methods of checking it. Lockdown, social distancing, wearing of face masks, regular washing of hands with soap under a running water and so on became new habits for us to learn.

Globally, the rate of new infections and deaths are still very worrisome. Many countries are still experiencing increases in the rate of new infections and fatalities. Globally, 26,441,490 cases of the virus have been reported. The number of fatalities is 872,164, while the recoveries stand at 18,634,171.

Figures coming from the three most affected countries, United States of America, with more than 6millon cases and 190,000 deaths; Brazil with over 4million infections and nearly 125,000 deaths and India with nearly 4million cases are humbling. In fact, India recorded a spike with its highest daily infection of over 84,000 this Thursday. The death toll in the country is above 68,000.

Even at that, there are silver linings in the sky. Vaccines and other drugs are near ready against the virus. Nigeria took delivery of a trial vaccine from Russia this weekend. The Federal Government on Friday received samples of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine. Russia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin, delivered the samples to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, during a visit to the ministry in Abuja.

It is also instructive that the rate of new infections has dropped significantly in the last few days. Only 125 new infections were recorded on Friday. Health professionals warned that the new figures do not necessarily mean an end to the pandemic.

Life is stylishly getting back to normal in the country. The lockdowns have witnessed gradual relaxations. Interstate travels are no longer outlawed. Exit students have successfully returned to school without a spike. Domestic and international flights have resumed. Religious congregations are no longer unlawful in churches and mosques.

The Federal Government has authorised students resumption at all levels – primary, secondary and tertiary institutions effective mid September. That is not all. The National Youth Service Corp, NYSC can now open its orientation camps even as curfew hours have been shrunkened.

Although recreational activities and clubbing are still in fetters in many places, weddings, birthdays, naming ceremonies and lavish interment programs are already knocking hard on the door.

The entire humanity is like a race freshly coming out of an invasion by aliens from outer space. May the celebrations last.

-Richard Elesho, journalist and our correspondent based in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, has been reporting life, business and political stories for over 16 years





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