•Govt Says: It has discovered 2,395 persons out of 2,649
•352 have contacts exited 14 days isolation period
•Nigeria going the way of Italy, Spain
Amidst fears by health watchers and close observers that Nigeria may be going the way of Italy and Spain that have suffered high casualties from coronavirus disease, COVID-19 that is ravaging the global community, the Lagos State Government raised an alarm yesterday that 39,000 cases of the disease may be recorded in the state going by the number of cases already imported into the country.
Lagos State commissioner for health, Prof Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos said that the State Government was tracing 2,649 persons out of which 2,395 persons have been reached. He also said not less than 352 contacts have exited the 14 days of the isolation period.
Abayomi who was reviewing how the State has fared so far in terms of numbers said: “Our mathematical modeling shows that the worst-case scenario is that we may see up to 39,000 cases in Lagos.”
He added that if everyone practices good social distancing, the figure could be limited to 13,000. “If we add social distancing to active contact tracing, then we will be able to bend the curve further,”
he said, noting that the figures were small, compared to outbreaks around the world. “The figures may seem alarming at this point, but this is just to emphasize to the Lagos community to follow instructions of the incident commander to make sure that we practice social distancing.
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“Looking at the same time frame from the introduction of the index case, you can see that Lagos State is not seen anywhere near what Spain, Italy, and Iran are showing. Still giving details of the data already generated, he explained that “at two or three weeks of our index case, we are flat and at week four, we have 37 cases; while at the same fourth week, Italy, Iran, and Spain had more than 20,000 cases.
So, we are doing something right in the state,” He said the state government would be interestingly watching the data over the next week. “The total number of cases we have now in the center is 37 and six remain in the ship. We will be finding ways to evacuate them.
Also, 70 percent of the patients are male and 30 percent are female, one infant, and a young person under 30 years. We have above age 60 years too. Again, 82 percent of the cases are imported and 14 percent are direct contact, while we have no idea where 2 percent contracted it from.
The fear that projections are higher than the official figures were based on the fact that many tests are not being done in Nigeria. Nigeria going the way of US, Italy, Spain CHINA has largely contained the coronavirus, but the pathogen has embarked on a global odyssey with devastating epidemics in the United States of America, Italy, and Spain.
Currently, the US has overtaken China as the country with the most cases of COVID-19 in the world. For the first time since the outbreak, Italy recorded a coronavirus total death toll that is almost triple that of China. Also, the death toll from COVID-19 in Spain has also overtaken that of China of late.
One thing that the US, Italy, and Spain have in common is inadequate preparedness that is amplified by the absence of putting proactive containment measures in place early enough.
A similar scenario is playing out in Nigeria that health watchers say may be involuntarily following the same path of the three aforementioned countries. With 65 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 death as of 27th March, Nigeria is listed among countries with the lowest number of coronavirus infections, but this development hardly elicits cheer.
But Health watchers and close observers including the World Health Organisation, WHO, have expressed concerns that these figures did not reflect reality.
With only five test centers available to over 200 million population, there are arguments that Nigeria is not really carrying out enough tests to detect the coronavirus. Coupled with the weak healthcare system, denial attitude, and general complacency, the nation is generally seen as unprepared to tackle the pandemic.