Why Nigeria will experience spike in cases of COVID-19 in January – NCDC

Ihekwazu, NCDC boss

The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) has predicted a significant increase in coronavirus infections in Nigeria by January, 2021.

Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja, at the Presidential Task force (PTF) National Briefing, Director General of the  NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu said Nigeria would in January 2021 pay the price of violating the COVID-19 protocols during the festivities.

“We just faced the worst week since we started responding to this outbreak. We had more cases in Nigeria last week than in any other previous week since the beginning of the outbreak.

“Pictures and videos from across the country paint a very disheartening situation because it appears that our messaging, our appeals to Nigerians over the last few months have not been heeded and we have gone ahead with business as usual. Events centres are full, social activities are full and so it is no surprising that cases are rising.

“January will be a tough month, no doubt about it. So, we have to brace ourselves for the consequences of the activities that we decided to carry out in December. Our colleagues, the Chief Medical Directors CMDs are here today because of the pressures that we face across the country”, he said.

Ihekweazu added: “Our treatment centres are filling up, we are struggling to keep up, we are struggling to find the facilities and oxygen to manage. Every night we are faced with phone calls of patients desperate for care.

” So, unfortunately, January will be a tough month for all of us. It will be tough, but we still have an opportunity to do what we need to do, liaising with state governors to be more purposeful in implementing the measures that we have collectively agreed on.

“We have seen some of them doing that but many of the states in the country haven’t and pretend as if there will be no consequences. This is the reality we face and so we have got to brace ourselves for January.”

The NCDC boss noted that in terms of the new variant of the virus, there was no change in the presentation of symptoms, except that it was more transmissible which would mean more cases, including critical ones, and the possible increase in fatalities.