The case with Covid-19 is that it shares symptoms with basically a host of other ailments. Interestingly, it shares the same feelings a man gets when his phone is being checked by his wife. At the onset, he experiences some difficulty in breathing, sweating copiously, then weakness, and of course, aches both at the stomach and head regions. When she asks, who is Chioma? The dry cough begins. I don’t intend to make you laugh. This is no joke. For this cause, several techniques have been engaged by different countries of the world to tackle Covid-19. The trial and error problem-solving method have been the first choice amongst and across most nations.
Believe me, it is yielding positive results and some devastating ones too. But to what extent you may ask? Whatever it is, some countries are not taking that risk at all for reasons best known to them. It is either they are clueless or masters at “copy and paste” strategies. They prefer to take the template of the trials that have not erred hook line and sinker without a thought if it is good enough for them or not. Are we not commons of “what is good for the goose is good for the gander?” These are nations with smart people but poor strategists and average thinkers too.
Nigeria is also doing well and we must commend the government, the NCDC, health, and essential workers who are at the frontline for us all. Following several suggestions on the media by experts, the common sense makers, and many partnerships, testing capacity has increased, more cases have been identified, and better plans are being made. This shows the authorities are listening and acting responsibly. For instance, in the last Presidential Broadcast by H.E. Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, April 27, 2020, the government consented to relax some sectors of the economy in a bid to alleviate the sufferings of the people and abate economic collapse.
The public works, agriculture, markets, restaurants, and some transport sectors are to operate within a stipulated time while maintaining strict physical distancing measures as contained in the NCDC phase-wise opening strategy. It is expected that people must wear face/nose masks, observe a general curfew from “8 pm to 6 am” (to restrict social activities at night like parties and clubbing which may have very low compliance), maintain physical distance in private and public transport facilities, etc. Of course, interstate travel remains closed as well as schools, religious centers, sports and hospitality services, and other social events.
This is a good strategy by the government to salvage the economy from grinding and ease the sufferings of Nigerians who depend on their daily earnings to survive. This fight for us is between coronavirus and hunger. Put in another way, between the rich and the poor. The rich are afraid of the virus and can afford to stay at home because they have food to eat. The rich also want the poor to stay home to avoid further spreading of the virus. But the poor can no longer stay home; if they do, they will die of hunger. So, they take their chances of survival by going out. What a paradox? As good as the plan to resume the economy may seem, the fight over the virus is not yet worn.
According to NCDC reports, the number of new cases is hiking the curves. No government has a verified formula for eliminating COVID-19, they are all experimenting, and reopening the economy is one of these experiments. The government is doing its best to manage the COVID-19 situation. The government cannot tell you what the definite outcomes will be over the weeks ahead neither does any of us. Two things could happen. First, we could possibly keep the economy peddling as well as flatten the curve by containing further spreads of the virus simultaneously. Second, we could move into the fourth stage of transmission with tens of thousands of new cases every day. If the latter is the case, then, the government may be tempted to enforce an indefinite lockdown again, leaving many to suffer and die of hunger. We do not pray to witness this but we must all comply with the directives on physical distancing.
What is expected of us as responsible citizens? Just a piece of advice, when you leave to work do not go about your affairs with no care or fear of the virus. Rather protect yourself and obey government directives, the NCDC rules, and other lifesaving rules that your organization may put in place. COVID-19 is not a joke. As a father, mother, brother, sister, friend, and colleague whose health determines that of others, do the right thing and stay ahead of the virus. Wear a face mask (buy the sealed one, not the one sampled by five persons already) everywhere you go in public. In your office, market, private, and public transport vehicles observe physical distancing.
Do not rush into public vehicles or stay in an overcrowded one. If you have your car, this is the time to use it. Corporate organizations should also provide more vehicles to ensure physical distancing in their staff buses. Organizations that can afford employees to work remotely should do so. While we are doing our bits, religious institutions, schools, entertainment centers, sports centers, etc., should resist any temptation of opening without adequate approvals. If things go as expected, I believe the government will unfreeze more sectors.
What will be the dangers if we do not obey these simple instructions? Being fully aware of the Nigerian system, where everything is working but nothing seems to be working. A place where we are in a shortage of many things including funds, health workers, test kits, food supply, electricity, social welfare, and what have you. We should not risk our lives this time by being careless. If most of us go about carelessly, this virus will spread like a wildfire and containment will become onerous – such as witnessed in Italy and the US. Many people will be left to die like animals, treatment will be according to age, gender, and even status. Certainly, the masses may suffer more because their treatment may come at a price owing to the shortage of health workers and treatment resources.
Our fight indeed is between what we will eat and the coronavirus. We are not like the countries taking care of their citizens but you need to stay alive to see Nigeria achieve that feat. Before you act carelessly, remember our situation, nobody cares. Putting yourself at risk would not be the best way to overcome the virus and still make ends meet.
In summary, the government is not relaxing the lockdown because the coast is clear neither is she in full control of the virus. The government has made a decision they feel is in our best interest with stipulated rules of engagement. This seems like a trial, so, make your own rule to stay safe and comply completely with the government instructions for the weeks ahead. However, the relaxation in lockdown is not for everyone. If you do not have any serious business, it is better you avoid going out, stay in, and stay safe. Act responsibly not for the government but your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Do not put other people’s lives who make contact with you at risk.
The first time God destroyed the world with flood according to the Holy Bible, only one man – Noah, his household and properties were saved. Why? He obeyed instructions. Even, after the quarantine in the ark, Noah did not step out immediately. He sent out a dove to experiment or check if it is safe to step out. So, as you get out this week starting on Monday, do not be a dove for anybody or for any reason. Be as wise as a serpent and put your safety first before anything else – that is the rule of engagement. If you fall sick of this virus, work, hunger, and money will not matter to you any longer, only survival will.
Be wise and Stay Alive.