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Second wave of COVID-19: Why skepticism still surrounds pandemic

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Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020, quite an appreciable number of Nigerians never really believed that the pandemic, which caught the world unawares and dealt a terrible blow to every facet of life, is real.

This stance was further reinforced by the fact that the virus had a relatively mild impact on the country, as only a few among those that contracted the deadly virus died, while many fully recovered and carried on with their lives. So, this group of people never voluntarily wore a facemask, except they were mandated to do so. They also largely ignored other safety guidelines recommended by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), such as regular washing of hands and social distancing, among others. Nonetheless, there were also many Nigerians that accepted the reality of the virus. They did due diligence and protected themselves and their loved ones by observing the COVID-19 protocols.

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At the end of the day, however, the general unspoken conclusion was that the frenzied preparations put in place by the government and other stakeholders to combat the pandemic in the country were much ado about nothing. As the country relaxed restrictions, people seemed to put the whole episode behind them. But now, the second wave of COVID-19 is sweeping across the country and officials are warning that it is more easily transmissible and much more brutal than the first one. They are saying more people are being infected, just as many are dying, unlike the first time. But it appears only very few Nigerians are listening and heeding their advice. The majority is simply disregarding the caution and all the safety guidelines. For them, there is simply no such thing as Coronavirus in Nigeria, as revealed in this survey conducted by Kikelola Oyebola, Gbenga Salau, Gbenga Akinfenwa, and Ijeoma Thomas-Odia.

Patience Amaka Nwambara, Secretary
I DO not believe that Coronavirus exists in Nigeria. I also don’t believe that many people have died from the virus. They say many have died from the virus, but do you know or see any of them? However, I have been taking precautions against contracting COVID-19. I frequently wash my hands and wear my nose mask. I also avoid shaking hands and crowded places. I am taking all these precautions just to adhere to my country’s instructions. But personally, I know very well that there is no COVID-19.

Olorunnisola Abe, Gender Activist
Sincerely, it is hard to believe anything coming from the Nigerian government. However, the many deaths recorded last year, due to the virus, can’t be overlooked. The reason I actually believe that COVID-19 is real is because of people that have shared their personal experiences. I don’t think they would be lying about their health. Accordingly, I have been taking little precaution. I haven’t been consistent in using my facemask; I only use it whenever I remember.

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Raphael Balogun, Primary School Teacher
Yes, I believe COVID-19 exists. This is because I have heard about people that have contracted the virus around the world, including Nigeria. The precautions I have been taking to not contact the virus include keeping myself updated on how to prevent it. Also, I use a nose mask, wash my hands regularly, and have reduced going to public places. For instance, I do not go to church always, just like I avoid areas in Lagos that are recording more cases of COVID-19.

Ajayi Okeyinfu, Education Entrepreneur, Business Consultant
TO not believe in COVID-19 is an exercise in foolishness and I am not particularly given to foolishness. The evidence about its existence and its ravaging effects can be seen in individuals, homes, businesses, and communities around the world and in Nigeria. COVID-19 exists.

Beyond following NCDC safety guidelines, I have learned to say no to many business opportunities that put me literally in the line of fire. A virus that has no cure is best avoided. I would rather be safe.

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Grace Akinkugbe, Founder & Lead at Brand Experience Building
YES, I believe COVID-19 exists. A colleague I worked with closely last year got infected, though she pulled through. Thank God our work was remote, otherwise, I would have contracted the virus too. However, there were two doctors my family knew, elderly people, who died from the disease. So, for me, COVID-19 is very real. I work remotely now, so I only go out when it is necessary. And when I do this, I protect myself by wearing a mask. I also ensure I keep a safe distance from people, especially strangers. I do not carry hand sanitisers anymore because most public buildings have them and insist you must use them before you enter. But I still avoid directly touching open surfaces in public areas.

When I return home, the first thing I do is wash my hands thoroughly before touching anything and I sanitise my mobile phone. I try to follow most of NCDC’s recommended guidelines.

Ugochi Obidiegwu, Safety Expert and Advocate
YES, I believe COVID-19 exists. There are scientific proofs around the world. Here in Nigeria, people have contracted it and have recovered. There have also been people that died from complications arising from it. So, this is not a “scam,” as a portion of the population thinks. This is why we have to keep sensitising others, so they do not let down their guard. I’d prefer that people do not get it then get it and go through the worry and health challenges. We must take personal responsibility because no matter what the government does if you and I do not comply with safety precautions, we are at risk. Personally, I ensure I have my mask on and maintain social distancing in public spaces. I wash my hands regularly and carry a portable hand sanitiser.

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I’m also deliberate about boosting my immunity. I eat right and take the necessary supplements.

Amusi


Amarachi Amusi, Human Resource Expert and Executive Director, Dazzling Damsels of Virtue Foundation (DOVEF)
I believe that the virus exists, only that the level of fear these theories inject into the people calls for caution. For a virus that has certainly upended our lives, the economy and we still don’t fully understand its origins or how to stop it; it would be unwise for anyone to sweep its existence under the carpet.

I hear many persons suggesting that 5G caused COVID-19 because 5G towers were built in Wuhan, China, at the same time the virus appeared there. If this is true, how come many places around the world that don’t have 5G towers have seen COVID-19 spikes? Or when someone says masks cause COVID-19 or fungal pneumonia, point out that doctors and nurses wear masks all day every day and did so before the pandemic, and they are fine.

A lot of us have put our health and that of others in jeopardy because of our unbelief. My advice is that people should take their health and wellbeing seriously by adhering to the safety guidelines to avoid COVID-19, especially with the announcement of the second wave.

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I wear a nose mask regularly. The only time you will see me without a mask is when I’m at home with my loved ones.

Also, I boost my immune system by taking lots of fruits rich in vitamin C. I use sanitiser and I avoid crowded places, and if it's one I cannot avoid, I stay meters apart from others.

Ademola


Sogo Great Ademola, Itori, Ogun State
COVID-19 is real. There are reports of the rising number of casualties across the globe. World powers and developed countries that have the technology are falling victims, and the world is currently under serious threat of the pandemic. I have been observing the NCDC guidelines and have continued to preach to people to observe all necessary protocols. I try to sensitise people around me as to the seriousness of the virus.

Marcus Adinoyi, Abule-Egba, Lagos State
I have come to realise that COVID-19 is real, despite the misconceptions from various quarters, particularly in Nigeria. COVID-19 is a global disease that is giving the entire world serious concern. It is causing a standstill in the global economy and has changed the ways things are done globally. My belief is based on reports of cases of the virus globally, particularly in the USA, Germany, United Kingdom, and Australia, among others. These countries are developed technologically to tackle any health challenges, but COVID-19 has beaten their imagination and all attempts have proved abortive. I have been following the guidelines by the regulatory bodies, such as wearing nose masks, keeping social distancing, and regular washing of hands or using sanitiser. I also observe other hygiene practices and have done the COVID-19 test to know my status.

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Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, Human Rights Activist, Executive Director, Visionspring Initiative
I believe that there is COVID-19 that is currently ravaging the world. My friend just recovered from the virus, while another family member was not so lucky and died from complications. Aside from protecting myself, I have been engaging others in a lot of advocacy, especially those in rural communities who do not have adequate information to protect themselves. I wear a facemask, especially when outside my house. I have also decided to work from home and inform my colleagues to do the same. We meet via Zoom and other social media spaces. I frequently wash my hands with soap and running water, especially when I come in contact with people. I also use sanitisers. The few times I go out for food items, I avoid large gatherings and maintain social distance with my facemask properly in place.

RonkePosh Adeniyi, Educationist and Director at Le Poshe School, Ikoyi
I certainly believe there is COVID-19. I know people who have died from it, though some were fortunate to survive it after battling for their lives. I mostly work from home and limit my going out. I follow the safety protocols, especially the wearing of a facemask, regular hand washing/sanitising, and maintaining social distancing. Despite the fact that we currently work from home in my family and my daughter continues her schooling/learning online, we still take drinks containing ginger and the likes. We also steam with natural extracts such as garlic and onions to clear our airways. Please, stay safe and do not be reckless. It is affecting people and our kids are missing out on quality education.

Kemi Ogunkoya, Leadership Development Expert, Author
I absolutely believe in COVID-19. Thankfully, I haven’t contracted the virus. However, I have acquaintances and relatives that have caught the virus, as well as some who are currently battling the virus. While some were lucky to make it alive after treatment, others, unfortunately, did not. I struggle to understand why there is so much unbelief about the virus. COVID-19 is real. I have been adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols. I limit social gatherings, and when unavoidable, I wear a mask and ensure social distancing, as much as possible. I also wash my hands frequently, use sanitisers, do inhalation, and eat fruits. I also ensure that my family and those in close proximity adhere to the safety procedures. I spread the message of the reality of COVID-19, so people can be more aware of their choices.

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Eunice Chinedu-Nwigwe, Child Psychologist
I believe COVID-19 exists. I also believe that the manifestation in the African continent, especially Nigeria, is different from the West. I am taking appropriate precautions to protect myself and my family against the virus. Such measures include but not limited to following the global COVID-19 protocol of washing and sanitising hands regularly and maintaining social distancing. I also ensure we eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and exercise regularly.

Tunde Sanyaolu, Abeokuta
BY now, no well-informed person should be in doubt of the COVID-19 pandemic reality. Let those that do not believe in Coronavirus identify the common virulent disease that claimed thousands of lives all over the world at about the same time. Even though the virus is referred to as a novel pathogen, we know it belongs to the viral family of SARS. Records show that countries that had experienced similar Coronavirus outbreak in the past were able to comparatively reduce the rate of infection and the number of deaths from COVID-19. Protection is by adhering to the preventive and safety measures given by the World Health Organisation and medical experts. These include avoiding crowded places, consciously keeping a social distance from other people, avoiding touching surfaces or placing things on surfaces when outside the home, regular and thorough washing of hands, and the use of hand sanitiser. Most importantly, wearing facemask outside the home.

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Hakeem Adegbenro, Abeokuta, Ogun State
I believe there is a COVID-19 pandemic. My position is based on the evidence and news about the pandemic, which is very glaring. We have seen deaths being recorded of the high and mighty in this country, due to the pandemic.
Majorly, I follow the laid down clinical protocols for the pandemic, which include regular washing of hands, though I go about with sanitiser. I wear a nose mask most times, even before the pandemic, because I am allergic to dust. I always try to avoid crowded environments and also engage in sensitising people around me about the pandemic.

Olajide, Akinboile, Ogun State
I believe COVID-19 exists. With what I have read online and heard from friends in the Diaspora, I have no doubt that this pandemic exists. The only problem is the way the Nigerian government at all levels is making money from it, which prevents the masses from believing that the pandemic exists. As a precautionary measure, I try as much as possible to avoid any gathering that has more than 50 people, I wash my hands regularly, sanitise my hands often, and always use a face mask.

Bridget Osakwe, Gender Expert
I believe that there is COVID-19. To protect my family and me, we observe the specified protocol— regular washing of hands, staying at home and going out only when necessary, wearing facemasks, and maintaining social distancing.

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