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COVID-19: Light at the dark tunnel of a gruesome fight By Abuchi Obiora

As western Europe take effective control of their shores hitherto ravaged by COVID-19, the developing countries of the world including Africa who fortuitously were shelved from the worst incidences of the virus seem to be standing at the crossroads, wishing that the worst never befalls them. This may be a long hope and expectation if all the permutations of medical authorities and political leaders in Africa fail to add up.

The partial lifting of the lockdown in Nigeria by the government may not after all be a clean bill of public safety and health in the fight against COVID-19. At the worst, it may turn out to be the exact opposite of government expectations, but God forbid! Like the somebody in political power said, Nigeria will need a lot of ‘Insha Allahu’ to make the government expectation of eventual control of COVID-19 come to pass.

In spite of the apparent underdevelopment of Africa as compared to Europe, the Americas and Sino-Asian countries, a precedent in history is still being replicated as regards the reduced fatality of COVID-19 on Africa. Most of the earlier pandemics across the world consumed more lives outside the shores of African.

Has this trend got anything to do with the genetic composition of the body cell of the African, or could it be related to the African weather, or even the resilience of an African to social pressures? Could any other extraneous factors be responsible for this immunity of the dark-skinned African to viruses of different strains spanning several centuries? Further research will throw more light on this.

Nevertheless, there seem to be some light from the dark tunnel of the gruesome fight between humanity and COVID-19.Apart from the controversial Chinese vaccine and the not less controversial American vaccine (both vaccines have been soaked with a weird rumor of electronic monitoring system of the inhabitants of the earth, courtesy of Bill and Melinda Gate Foundations), Israel has announced that her own vaccine to check the spread of COVID-19 is on the way.

With Ms Jennifer Haller 44, of the US leading the way as the first human being publicly known to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with an observation period of one year to assess the efficacy of the vaccine, the world still need to continue on the measures to contain the spread of the virus, such as social (physical) distancing and maintenance of individual and collective hygiene. Medical experts in the US believe that it would take up to 18months to begin to administer the America-originated MRNA 1273 vaccine on COVID-19 patients.

They also believe that a virus can undergo transformations in unpredictable outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, this has been so with the strain of the virus called COVID-19, because coronavirus is not really new to virologists. What is new is the COVID-19 strain.

Scientifically, it is believed that phylogenetic networks are reliable means of tracking genetic mutations. But this method can only apply with a large and expanded data base and sample size which also must trail and track down the accurate mutation speed of the virus. This process will be almost an impossible task in Africa, especially Nigeria where simple citizens’ biodata base is unavailable as to even talk of public health data and information.

If, therefore we are to rely on this scientific maxim on phylogenetic networks and if the steady but slow infection pattern of the virus in Nigeria and other African countries is anything to go by, then it will take an unpredictable period of time and other special methods to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus in these countries. Nigeria, and indeed other African countries must brace up to articulate these ‘special methods’ as their plan B’s. 

Though COVID-19 vaccines may soon be certified and used around the world, it may actually take sometime before COVID-19 disappear from Africa. This may be why the United States of America is evacuating her citizens from Nigeria.

In time, there may be world Health organization’s travel restrictions around the world when COVID-19 vaccine certificates may be issued to cross-country travels like the yellow fever vaccine certificate of yester years.

The bad news until COVID-19 vaccine and cure are found is that the virus, once contacted, must run its complete course, which includes killing the host patient. But the first good news, like I wrote in a previous publication in this medium is that the mutation of the virus can be curtailed with an enhanced patient’s immunity, as well as trapping the virus and dealing with it in the secondary respiratory tracks before it reaches the alveoli in the primary respiratory organ called the lungs.

The second good news about COVID-19 is that generally speaking, viral infections are self-limiting, that is, they run their courses and expire on their own without killing their hosts (patients) if adequate, I repeat, adequate measures are taken by the patients. 

For this reason, the immune system must be continuously boosted and other necessary precautions placed on the body while the infection runs its course and expires. 

This is the secret and only condition for the recovery of COVID-19 positive patients and a veritable vent for Nigerians to escape the fatality of this deadly plague, in a situation, God forbid, of mass infection.

The Advisor of the US Department of Homeland Security, Bill Bryan announced Thursday 23rd April 2020 that a new research conducted by the US Army Biological laboratory outside Washington D.C revealed the following facts: –

  1. Bleach kills coronavirus in 5 minutes.
  2. Isopropyl alcohol destroys coronavirus faster than bleach.
  3. Sunlight (solar energy) kills coronavirus in minutes.
  4. Coronavirus in droplets of saliva and sneezes survive best indoors and in dry conditions.

Though not yet confirmed by the WHO, these claims, already broadcast by President Donald Triumph who admonished US citizens to enjoy ‘sunshine’ this summer, is the most striking confirmation of the suspicion earlier aired in this medium by me that the African sunlight and weather may be an inhibiting factor in Africa for the spread of COVID-19. 

 I have noted in my most recent work in this medium that much of COVID-19 vaccine and cure around the world will be localized. It was reported that Madagascar has launched her own cure of COVID-19. Nigeria, through TCAM, (Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine) can join the League of Nations that have developed indigenous cure for COVID-19.

The recalcitrant despot, President Kim Jorg-Un of North Korea warned Africa- especially Nigeria and Ghana, to be serious in tackling the threat posed on their citizens by COVID-19. He talked about corruption and misuse of our natural resources as the factors that may jeopardize our struggle to square up with the fight posed by the pandemic.

Stories of monumental corrupt activities of government and public servants in Nigeria will fill up a library of more than one million books. The continued survival of Nigeria in spite of these assaults on her resources is both miraculous and mythical. It also legendary and unsurpassed in the annals of the history of Nations.

In the light of this, the coronavirus pandemic has opened the eyes of Nigerians on how responsible their government is. The hushed partial lift (forget the semantics because the government understands that the people will come out en-mass to look for their daily bread) of the lockdown is a very serious indictment of the insensitivity of the government of Nigeria to the welfare and lives of her citizens. 

The government has simply backed out of feeding the people, like all responsible governments across the world have done.

As for the hushed partial lifting of the lockdown, it is both callous and insensitive for a father who saves money for his selfish drinking spree, to send out his children to fetch firewood in the thick of the night amidst rain and thunderstorm, when he could use part of the money he has saved to buy kerosine which is a timely alterative to firewood.

The danger of the government decision to partially lift the lockdown is that the government may find it difficult thereafter to cope with the surging cases of coronavirus patients, if the gloomy predictions of public health experts come to pass.

Nigerians must hold their government accountable if these gloomy predictions of public health experts come to pass.

In the light of her failure to provide food and cash palliatives to Nigerian citizens during the total lockdown period as promised Nigerians by President Mohammadu Buhari, the government must come out to clear the air on the circumstances surrounding the fire outbreak in the Nigeria Treasury Building during the early days of the lockdown period.

 This must be so, especially to debunk the rumor now awash in public domain that a certain sum of money marked out for Nigerian citizens as palliatives to cushion the economic effect of the lockdown was gulped by the razing inferno after the House of Assembly had questioned the disbursing authority on the source of data for citizens’ identification and over-all credibility of the palliatives-sharing exercise.

We all have equal stake in Nigeria, hence the right to know what happened to our collective patrimony.

Having endured hunger during the total lockdown days, and now sadistically being pushed back to the streets that may be infested with coronavirus majestically lurking for who to devour, governance must resume now with an exploration to Nigerians by our leaders on why and how fire gutted our magnificent Treasury Building located in the Central Business District of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

GDP per capita is the measure of a country’s economic output that accounts for its total number of people. It divides the country’s gross domestic product by its total population, and is the appropriate yardstick for measuring the standard of living of citizens of a country.

GDP per capita is the mirror which reflects the real and accurate impact which the wealth of a country makes on her citizens.

What would have been accumulated overtime in Nigeria as national wealth for several decades have been depreciated, at least, by seventy percent, (courtesy of the book, ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’, by Professor Chinua Achebe) by official corruption.

This is why Nigeria recorded an abysmally low GDP per capita income of $2,222 in 2019. 

With a per capita income of $2,222 which is less than the subsidy placed on a cow by the government of the United States of America for producing milk for America citizens, the Nigerian citizen is sub-humanly treated by his government.

Because the US (like many countries with good leaders including Libya of Maumar Gaddhafi’s time) circulates her wealth equitably amongst her citizens, the GDP per capita of the US in 2019 was $65,456.

I can further simplify the explanation of GDP per capita as it applies to Nigerians to be exactly the same thing pertaining to a rich father who has mansions and fleets of cars but whose family and children live in mud houses, wear torn dresses and ride on bicycles.

There is no reason why every Nigerian should not be rich, or at least comfortable, if the Nigerian leaders fairly apply the wealth of Nigeria to touch all the nooks and crannies of the society.

What every poor Nigerian is presently experiencing is a criminally-induced poverty as a result of criminal negligence by their leaders – a crime for which the leaders must be gathered, one and all, and be made to pay for, one day.

Abuchi Obiora wrote from Abuja

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