Experts warn of more coronavirus cases, deaths in coming weeks
Medical experts have warned of an imminent surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and deaths in the next two weeks, as the Federal Government yesterday announced easing of lockdown measures and reopening of schools for graduating students.
They, however, said the only solution remained total compliance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols – regular washing of hands, physical/social distancing – and wearing of facemasks.
A consultant virologist and chairman, Expert Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, told The Guardian: “Lockdown or no lockdown, if you don t obey the simple rules of washing your hands regularly, social and physical distancing and wearing of face masks, the number of cases and deaths will increase. I think we are getting back to a surge. In another two weeks, the situation will get worse if we refuse to obey the basic rules.
“Government was forced to make the decision because of the economic reasons, and inability to provide enough palliatives. But if we don’t do the right things, things are going to get worse.”
President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, said: “When we had Ebola, we had no lockdown rules, but we observed high personal hygiene of regular washing of hands and sanitising. The problem today is that all the protocols are not working, or rather, people are not observing them. The hand-washing recommendation is not working. Wearing of face mask? The compliance is low. The worst is social distancing. If they are not working, how far can we go?”
In his contribution, a public health physician and Executive Secretary, Enugu State Agency for the Control of AIDS (ENSACA), Dr. Chinedu Arthur Idoko, stated: “Still a dicey one. I think for now, interstate travels should be restricted to movement of essentials.
The movement across borders should, at present, be strictly controlled to avoid spiralling of cases in hitherto less afflicted states. We are presently battling with community spread; opening interstate borders will not help this situation.”
Another public health physician and founding partner of Health Systems Consult, Dr. Nkata Nwani Chuku, submitted: “It is not even about the safety anymore since government does not have clear strategies or the means to deal with the continued economic lockdown. Even the easing of the lockdown some weeks ago is not safe, as we predicted and are seeing from the exponentially increasing numbers of cases and deaths.”