Coronavirus And Poor Nigerians, Africans


The question of whether we in Nigeria or Africa as a whole are ready for corornavirus is timely. The answer is as uncertain as it is a dreadful one. At the last count, coronavirus has sent over 42,000 people to their early graves globally, especially in Europe, a continent highly developed in science and modern technology, boasting of the best assemblage of medical equipment the world over.


Invading human territory at the time no one was conscious, as early as December 15, 2019, as conspiracy theorists will have it, what has widely been called COVID-19 seems to be no respecter of persons, as it has infected presidents, ministers, senators and governors. The disease is as heartless as the weapons of mass destruction consciously developed by the world powers. Unfortunately, it is the same world powers that are the most hit. While humanity has control over the explosives, only making use of them when they want, there is yet some measures to physically hinder the coronavirus spread, as far as human contact is freely allowed.


As at 06:19 GMT of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, a total of 859,355 cases have so far been confirmed globally. Out of these, however, 178,131 people truly recovered and got discharged, while 638,897 cases were still active. The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in a recent release said it is heartbreaking that almost every country over the world has recorded at least a case.


As quoted by international media, Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “The pandemic is accelerating. It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and just four days for the third 100,000 cases. You can see how the virus is accelerating.


“But we’re not prisoners to statistics. We’re not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic,” he assured.


Of the 638,897 active cases, however, 605,999 (95%) are said to be in mild condition while 32,898 (5%) are reportedly in critical condition.


Meanwhile, of the 859,355 infections recorded across the globe, the United States has recorded 188,572 cases, Italy 105,792, Spain 95,923 and China 81,554.


Also among the highest infected countries are Germany with 71,808 cases, France with 52,128, Iran with 44,605 and the United Kingdom 25,150 confirmed cases. Again, Switzerland has recorded 16,605 cases, Belgium 13,964, Turkey 13,531, the Netherlands 12,595 and Austria 10,366.


Similarly, the death rates of the virus have also been very scary, especially with what is befalling Europeans. For instance, out of the 42,528 global deaths, the worst hit country has been Italy that has lost no fewer than 12,428 people. The next hit is Spain with 8,464 deaths, USA with 4,056, France with 3,523 and China 3,312. The question is, if first world countries with huge technological advancement and capacity to deal with health issues are drastically plagued this way, what should be expected of Africa?

RELATED: COVID-19: FG Begins N20,000 Case Transfer To Poor Households


This brings a thinking person to looking at the situation with peculiarity to the black continent. First, it is fair to establish that 49 out of the 54 African countries have recorded confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. A total of 5,856 cases are recorded. Out of this number are 201deaths while 430 persons have so far recovered. Some of the countries with high infections are South Africa with 1,353 cases, Algeria with 716, Egypt with 656, among others.


Coming down to Nigeria, the statistics according to as updated at 06:19 GMT of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 139 cases infections have been confirmed, with two deaths and nine recoveries. The country has made efforts towards arresting the spread of the Chinese virus. Senators, governors and many other officials of government have been bugled by the deadly virus. The son of a former Vice President was one of the earliest diagnosed cases while the Chief of Staff to the President has also been infected by the disease.


It is settled that Africa as a whole is obviously deficient in terms of health facilities. Governments of Africa have not improved to the extent of having the prepared ground to combating the virus. The lessons learnt from the developed countries and how the virus is steadily flushing them out like ants tells much of what could possibly happen in Africa where there are no facilities. Agreed, Africa or perhaps Nigeria is merely just getting the virus. What this means is that, following the nature of the disease and its spread, it is possible for it to drastically deal with Africa.


No doubt, Africans may have been exposed to the new world order of contact distancing. The respiratory hygiene system, the hand washing and the rest could have possibly been helpful. But do Africans have running water? Take for instance that there is running water, is there technology that will make the water to flow, only when human hands get close to it? Must people always use their hands to turn the tap before the water runs? Can the tap be infected with human hands? If yes, how does one turn off the tap, after they are done washing their hands? A picture of President Buhari hand washing sample tells the better story. Question is, who turns off the tap after a person is done, possibly washing off the virus? If he gets it done himself, isn’t it possible that what was being washed would be taken again?


With the vastness of Nigeria, with 36 big states and 774 local government areas in all, are there more workable laboratories than five? A situation where homes of big politicians like former President Olusegun Obasanjo becomes an isolation centre is quite interesting. In Akwa Ibom State with 31 local government areas, there is no place a possible case can be tested for confirmation. A situation where there are emergencies, how would the state government handle the situation?


The poor in Africa and indeed Nigeria are the most vulnerable. Of course, the worldwide border closure has compelled every person to stay in their own countries. But the thing is this, if any rich person, say politician is by accident infected, they have all it takes to compel government and its agents to take them out for possible treatment. Can that be said of a poor person who may not even have the available contacts to inform government agents in case of possible symptoms? The severity of COVID-19 has constituted a serious threat to human existence. If the situation is not well managed with prayers, Africa could record the worst situation. This is perhaps why Bill Gates had warned that if measures are not well taken to contain the situation, Africa could record well over 10 million mortality for the coronavirus.

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