COVID-19 infections jump by 324% in one month

Analysis of the COVID-19 cases obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has revealed a sharp rise of 324 per cent in the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the country within one month.

No fewer than 568 cases were reported in the country between May 12, 2022 and June 12, 2022.

However, between June 13, 2022 and July 12, 2022, no fewer than 2,407 cases were reported leading to a sharp rise of 323.76 per cent in the number of positive cases.

The PUNCH reports that the increase comes amidst warning of a potential fifth wave of the pandemic.

The NCDC, in a public health advisory it released ahead of the Salah break had notified Nigerians of the possibility of a fifth wave of the pandemic.

“As we celebrate, we urge Nigerians to prevent the outset of a full-fledged fifth COVID-19 wave by remaining mindful of the high risk of spread of COVID-19 and acting in tandem by adhering to recommended public health safety measures.”, the NCDC had said in its advisory.

So far, a total of 258,874 positive cases have been reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. While 250,456 have been discharged, 3,144 have lost their lives.

COVID-19 cases have continued to increase in some parts of the world.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, officials say COVID restrictions may be reintroduced if a rising number of cases has an impact on the National Health Scheme.

This is as official UK data revealed that 2.7 million people in private households are estimated to have had COVID-19 over the past week, up 18% from 2.3 million the previous week.

But the experts in Nigeria have said the electoral and rainy seasons in Nigeria will further help the coronavirus to thrive in the country.

In an interview with The PUNCH, a professor of medical virology from the University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba said, “COVID-19 is an abnormal virus. It thrives more whenever the weather is cold. As you may have noticed, Nigeria is experiencing non-stop rains, the weather is cold, and coupled with electoral activities where politicians abandon non-pharmaceutical procedures among others. So, with the weather, and political activities, cases are bound to rise.

Another health expert at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Professor Victor Olumekun said, “We have virulent variants coming up. The virus has not gone anywhere, the only thing is that it is not as deadly as it used to be because we are approaching herd immunity.

“That means the virulence will reduce and the infectivity; that does not mean it has gone. People who are yet to get vaccinated should go and do so.”

The National President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Uche Ojinmah, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “There is a presidential steering committee on COVID-19 control headed by the SGF Boss Mustapha, and everything must follow the rules, there is a quarantine law that vets a lot of power to the president and you can’t blame the politicians because there is a law that regulates this.

“The fundamental truth is that everybody is doing their best to protect themselves within the limit of realities. It is advice from the NMA that they should give this information to the presidential steering committee so they can make a decision and address the nation, if there is the need for lockdown it should be done immediately.

@There has been a disregard for COVID-19 protocols around the world, people now board a flight without a COVID 19 test, it is difficult to pin down a certain group of the populace, marketplaces are crowded and religious gatherings are been filled up, so unless the regulation concerning this changes, we can’t blame the politicians.”

Also speaking with The PUNCH, the Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Alfa Yusuf said, “The rise of Covid-19 cases is not surprising as we have generally abandoned the measures put in place, we no longer avoid crowded places, people don’t use face mask nor wash their hands regularly, all of that has lead to the increase of COVID-19 cases.

“To our politicians, I want to inform them that the virus is still with us and it is on the increase and I am very sure the relevant bodies will take necessary actions soon. There is a regulation everyone is supposed to follow including politicians and if such regulation doesn’t prevent them from attending electoral campaigns then you can’t blame them but with cases on the rise, we except a new directive that will forestall the spread of coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, the NCDC on its verified Facebook page cautioned Nigerians who are above 50 to take extra cautions to protect themselves.

“COVID-19 may cause severe complications in the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. Those who are above 50 or with underlying health conditions should take extra caution to protect themselves”.

The PUNCH reports that so far, only 24,675,659 Nigerians representing 22.1 per cent of the total eligible population have been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine according to official data by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

The agency also noted that 11,873,847 have been partially vaccinated representing only 10.6 per cent of the total eligible population.

A professor of public health at the University of Ilorin, Professor Tanimola Akande said, “Available data of recent show increase in cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The same trend is observed in several other countries globally.

The increase in cases is due to improved testing. This means there is still transmission of COVID-19 cases though not much morbidity or mortality like witnessed in the past.

“With political movements on the increase, there is a need to ensure that many Nigerians are vaccinated against COVID-19 including having booster doses. Politicians should be encouraged to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. It appears Nigeria has largely neglected these protocols. Our society doesn’t appear to be disciplined enough to expect that politicians will adhere well to the protocols. It is therefore important for the government to do more in vaccinating its citizens so that proportion of fully immunised people will be high enough to have herd immunity. Testing should also be intensified.

Efforts to get the director of communications of the NCDC, Dr Yahaya Disu proved abortive as he was yet to reply to the inquiries by The PUNCH at the time of filing this report.

But the Lagos State Government said residents of the state should not panic over the report which indicated a rise in the cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, stated this during a phone interview with The PUNCH on Monday.

Omotoso also disclosed that the state will ensure that at least 60 per cent of its citizens are vaccinated to attain herd immunity.

He said, “I want to advise residents that there is no cause for panic. What we are doing, in the case of any eventualities, is to prepare all our facilities and personnel to be able to cope with such emergencies.

“Then we continue to encourage Lagosians to get vaccinated. Viral infections are often difficult to tackle and we are working to ensure that people curtail their spread.

“We to ensure that we vaccinate at least 60 per cent of our people so that we can attain herd immunity so we are encouraging Lagosians to take the vaccine and observe COVID-19 safety protocols.”

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