President, Centre for Change, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, has expressed concern over the rising number of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria, saying that the country is yet to reach the peak of the pandemic.
Okei-Odumakin, who expressed this concern on Monday, June 1, 2020 in a statement in Lagos, decried the capacity of government to test citizens for the virus so as to isolate and treat the infected.
“The figure of Nigerians infected with coronavirus keeps surging, meaning that we are yet to reach the plateau of the pandemic.
“Last night, the figure hits 10,162 while Lagos still leads on the chart of new infections with 188 cases, followed by the FCT with 44.
“The capacity of government to test citizens for the virus so as to isolate and treat the infected continues at snail’s speed.
“Testing kits and reagents as well as PPE equipments and materials are said to be in short supply, in addition to their prices hitting the roof.
“Governments are running short of beds in the available isolation centres and treating less severe cases at home is being considered an option,” Okei-OdumkIn said.
According to her, it is however not pessimism all the way as 3007 cases have been successfully treated and discharged.
The activist, who noted that the death toll had climbed to 287, said that the number was less than three per cent of the total number of infected, including those discharged.
She, however, said that the fatalities number, viewed against the total national population of 200 million, showed it was massive.
“As state and federal governments contemplate more relaxation of the lockdown so that life can return to normal, apprehension mounts about the continuing spike in the number of infected persons.
“Another total lockdown appears ruled out for economic and security reasons. The impact of previous lockdowns on individuals and the economy has been massive.
“Besides, its effectiveness in combating the pandemic has also been called to question,” she added.
Okei-Odumakin, in addition, expressed concern that citizens with other ailments requiring visits to hospitals had been crowded out of the health facilities.
The rights activist said that fatalities arising from hospitals and health workers refusing to admit and treat emergency or sick patients on the suspicion they could be COVID-19 patients was on the rise.
Okei-Odumakin said: “More worrisome is the fact that security agencies meant to enforce the lockdowns in operation all over the country have generally compromised and allowed movement of goods and persons for pecuniary gains.
“The unwise dispersal of almajiris in some Northern states, many of them trooping into the South, has also not helped efforts to combat the virus.
“The high rate of new infections in Lagos has been put down to this influx, in addition to its being the economic life wire of the country where all paths meet.
“Managing the pandemic until a vaccine or other means of treatment is found or herd immunity is attained appear to be the unstated hope of the governments and the agencies tasked with managing the crisis.
“The other end, of course, is to continue to trust in God and prayers, and in the resilience and never-say-die spirit of our people while the NCDC continues to try its best.”
She also expressed concern that non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols of PPE and physical distancing by a lot of Nigerians had not made the job of the NCDC easier.
According to her, a vast number of Nigerians still continue to be sceptical about the existence of the virus, believing the lies and half truths that it is a white man’s disease or virus of the affluent and rich.
She also described as condemnable and suspicious, the manner government had handled palliatives and relief materials meant to cushion the impact of coronavirus on the vulnerable segments of the society.
Okei-Odumakin added that this had also fuelled the belief that the virus had only offered another opportunity for a corrupt elite to fleece the country.
“As matters now stand, the last has not been heard of COVID-19 and our response to it at national and state levels,” she said.
By Oluwatope Lawanson