Covid-19‘s incalculable disruption

SIR:  On their own, pandemics are potent enough. In spreading panic, they grow more insidious. Nigeria is bracing up to contend with the corona virus pandemic that is sweeping much of the world. Already, the virus has shown how capable an adversary it is and how forcefully deadly it can prove to be in no time. At this point in the pandemic, it is no exaggeration to say that already the virus has altered the course of 2020.

Africa, nay Nigeria, has largely been spared the vengeance of the corona virus, but with cases rising and the World Health Organization sounding the siren, the reality is gradually beginning to pound home.

How Nigerians now wish the audacious boast by the Centre for Disease Control that it could reckon with the virus a while back was spot on. Alas, Nigerians are waiting in great uncertainty, clinging more to hope than expectation.

It is veritable case of if gold rusts, what will iron do?  Already, the virus has claimed bountiful harvests in countries vastly more equipped than Nigeria to deal with such catastrophes. Countries with better health infrastructure and better leadership are struggling mightily under the ruthless regime of the corona virus. It begs the question of how the country will cope if the virus descends alights here with full force.

Already, the sheer   amount of fake news and outright falsehood about the virus beggars belief. The Presidency has also shown a customary reluctance to calm already frayed Nigerian nerves on the issue with at least a public conversation about it.

One can only hope for the best. Nigeria struggles on many levels and is simply not equipped to deal with the unique challenge posed by the corona virus.

While it is true that the Ebola virus which laid waste to neighbouring African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia some years ago was swiftly contained when it came to Nigeria, thanks to the heroic sacrifices of Dr. Adadevoh, the corona virus has already proven more slippery and elusive of precautionary measures.

Nigeria with its weak health infrastructure, overcrowded cities, poor sanitation and abundant superstition provides conditions the deadly virus would relish.

Already, those who prescribe spiritual solutions for everything and in the process prey on the gullible have gone into overdrive. Subtly, they are whipping people into a frenzy and spreading panic and lies in an attempt to increase patronage for their merchandise.

The Presidency and all those in authority must recognize that the formidable challenge posed by this virus calls for drastic measures. It is no time for dithering or playing to the gallery. Already, some impressive measures have been put in place. They must be ramped up. The virus has shown itself particularly aggressive. The response to it must be equally aggressive. There is no other way.

Nigerians must also play their own part to stay safe and keep friends and family safe. Medical advice must be strictly adhered to and proper education and information available to combat the falsehood. It is not a time for superstition or games. The virus is a common enemy that does not discriminate.

While we gird for a long battle, we pray and hope for the best. More than anything, we must stay together and follow medical advice. It is better safe than sorry.

  • Kene Obiezu, Abuja.

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