The first suspected case of the novel coronavirus storming nations across the globe may be traced back to a 55year old individual from Hubei province in China on 17 November 2019 according to South Morning China Post. More than a month after these doctors started noting cases in Wuhan, China in Hubei province as at the end of December 2019. However, it not glaring that what started with one person in a province in China is now a pandemic that has brought the word into a standstill like the Imo state statues. COVID-19 jumped, and it’s still jumping border without having a visa or travel documents.
As at 2.30 am WAT on the 14th April 2020, just barely four months 1,918,855 cases have been confirmed in 185 countries/regions of the world, leaving the death tolls to be 119, 588 according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine/ Coronavirus Resource Center. The major African Statistics of Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Data as of April 13, 2020, at 5 am GMT Africa leaves the total number of confirmed cases to be 14,497 across 52 African countries and the number of death to be 788. 2,823 persons have recovered from this COVID-19. There are two virus-free countries in Africa: Lesotho and Comoros.
COVID-19 has left all countries in commotion despite the efforts of health workers across the globe, schools are shut down, commercial activities are paralyzed, and businesses are left with no option other than to go virtual. COVID-19 has defiled all odds, failed to discriminate based on status, color, wealth, religion or age bringing the world on its knees. It looks more like the major response to the pandemic is more of movement restrictions such as physical distancing. Nations across the globe started enforcing stricter measures like total lockdown and shutdown of all activities. Coronavirus Lockdown, well it’s not a register in the public health world but it’s now a word often used. It’s simply anything from mandatory geographic quarantines to non-mandatory recommendations to stay at home, closures of certain businesses ban on events and gathering. India, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and Poland have implemented this restrictive mass lockdown, and many have extended for a certain number of times. China equally did the same to combat COVID-19 to the point of having no community transmission.
Nigeria equally did that. As of March 29, 2020, just a day before the initial 14-day lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states which began on March 30; Nigeria had 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with just a single death. But, on 13 April 2020 when the extension of the lockdown for another 14 days was announced by President Buhari, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 343 with 10 deaths and 91 recoveries. This implies that the number of active cases stands at 242. Sadly, in percentage, there was a percentage increase of 118.01%.
Looks more like lockdown is the only measure to combat the COVID-19, Obviously Not!
Countries are also considering another measure, using the principle of Herd Immunity. Between Coronavirus Lockdown and Herd Immunity, what will save the world?
Herd immunity happens when so many people in a community become so immune to an infectious disease that it stops the disease from spreading. Usually, it happens in two ways many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it, so when next you contract it, your antibodies are being triggered to fight against it before it makes you ill–this is called natural immunity or many people are vaccinated against the disease to achieve immunity. Conversely, there is currently no widely accepted vaccines for COVID-19, which means we need to rely on natural immunity. Is this not too risky?
In most cases, it takes between 80 -95% of the total population to be immune to infectious diseases to stop its spread, if 80% of the population of a particular country contract this infectious coronavirus. With the high risk involved in COVID-19. I think there won’t be enough facilities to manage the situation. Well, it has worked before during the outbreak of swine flu (H1N1 virus), the people of Norway developed a partial immunity to the virus. Sweden is one country leading the Herd Immunity strategy as a response to Coronavirus, keeping schools and businesses open. Sweden wants to keep its economy functioning while slowing the rate at which people get sick. The death toll in Sweden is nowhere low, with 10,934 number of confirmed cases, Sweden has 919 number of deaths as compared to United States of America (23, 608 number of deaths), Spain (17,756), Italy (20,465) and France (14,986) that are responding using lockdown strategy. UK and Italy held back these strict measures of lockdown taking into account the economic impact of the strategy. The British government felt saving as many lives as possible is their priority but saving businesses and jobs is also urgent. But on the 23 March 2020, Boris Johnson led government had a rethink and announced all UK residents must stay at home for three weeks. As of 14 April 2020 United Kingdom has 89,571 total number of confirmed cases with 11,347 deaths.
South Korea’s strategy looks different. As of 14 April 2020, South Korea’s total number of confirmed cases stands at 10,564 with 222 death. The government and the people of South Korea have flattened the curve without shutting the country. The policy of testing, tracing and treating has its roots in the country. No other country has carried out so many tests like South Korea. Some schools of thought attributed this to the experience South Korean’s have gathering having dealt with previous epidemics such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS). But it is often overlooked that SK has a well-funded and efficient system of delivering public services. South Korea’s single-payer healthcare system was ranked the first among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2015 with 97% of the total population covered with compulsory National Health Insurance Scheme.
MAY THE BEST STRATEGY WIN!
Different trial-and-error response strategies from nations. The west will always take decisions based on the best intentions and scientific data available to them. Many African countries without looking inward are just copying the west on preventive strategies. Not minding that scientific knowledge and theories are developed through trial and error. Even though I think different countries should do what works best for them, I still think information sharing is important in a time like this.
Would there be a global consensus to tackle COVID19?
Last modified: June 21, 2021