We are in a war against coronavirus period. Regretfully, in wars people die. The enemy in this war attacks lives but spares livelihoods. Unfortunately, Governments all over the world are sacrificing livelihoods in order to preserve lives. Since there’s a limit to the extent we can sacrifice livelihoods in order to preserve lives, because eventually we need the livelihoods to preserve lives, perpetual lockdown of the economy, is not the solution to tackling this virus. We do not have adequate finance, welfare, hospitals, equipments, beds to adopt an elitist approach towards tackling this virus. Even the citizens of America that have adequacy of these things are rebelling against indefinite lockdown because it runs contrary to the spirit of freedom of the individual person even if the law permits it. Everyone should be allowed to determine how he wants to go to heaven. This is not the time of unintelligent copying from foreign countries because the people whom you want to copy from are looking for the people to copy from. If this virus does not directly affect livelihoods, and is not a death sentence, then it means that it is the fear of death that is instigating the lockdown by different governments all over the world. Why should we destroy completely our economy and livelihoods because of a virus which we can recover from even without medical treatment? We have to adopt a new approach to the war against this enemy.
There are scientific assumptions presently associated with this virus. An American study says that this virus may last for 2 years. They stated that 75,000 Americans may die of suicide as a result of the lockdown if allowed to continue. Vaccine for the virus may be more than a year from now. There is no known cure for the virus. Even NCDC has confirmed that all they do is management of the patients. One can recover from the virus by using some of our organic herbs and seeds. Some drugs like remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, Madagascar organic, herbs or syrup can cure the virus in some persons. This means there’s hope for survival even if someone contracts the virus. Strict observance to social distancing and other regulatory guidelines from relevant authorities like WHO, NCDC etc can prevent someone from getting infected. Lockdown has not proved to be the silver bullet that guarantees that people under lockdown cannot be infected with the virus. This is because, there cannot be a perfect lockdown anywhere in the world. Exceptions are always made for the free movement of essential materials and persons like food and medicine, security agencies, governmental or medical officers. These people have been known to be infected also and they go back to infect members of their families on lockdown. People under lockdown invite artisans into their homes to help repair some domestic malfunctioning machines, utensils and electronics. Some asymptomatic infected artisans can infect the entire household.
Apart from the initial lockdown by governments, which was intended to understand the modus operandi of the virus and the need to create awareness of its existence and ways to handle it, including dispersing the myths associated with it, there seems to be no other logical reason to sustain the lockdown, especially in the developing world, which cannot afford the cost of the lockdown. The fear of death by man should be the least reason in determining what policy to adopt to tackle any situation or enemy. First and foremost, everyone must die in one way or the other. The inevitability of death, even to the most carefully lived, makes it irresponsible to fear it. Is 43:1 states, “… Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” God actually commands us not to fear, or worry. The phrase “fear not” or “be not afraid” is used about 103 times in the Bible, most likely because God knows that the enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories. The fear of death is a hindrance to solutions not a solution in itself. Spiritually speaking, what you fear most comes upon you.
The first bulwark to this virus apart from God is strong immunity. Immune system is developed through good food, good exercise and good rest. These cannot be developed when people are locked down. Poor people under lockdown cannot eat good diet because they live on daily income which is not possible under lockdown. Rich people who are locked down cannot eat good diet because a lot of their favourite ingredients come from different locations scattered around Nigeria which they cannot reach because the lockdown affects free flow of goods and services across the length and breath of Nigeria. Even if transportation of food is exempted from the lockdown, no sensible trader will bring out his wares to the market when the people who are meant to patronize him are under lockdown. I know of one rich friend of mine who prefers to buy his soup ingredients, honey, fruits from Nsukka; his goat meat from Benue; his chicken from Fulani and his rice from Kebbi. He goes to the village markets in Abuja to purchase fishes, and other things. That is his idea of a balanced diet and his strategy of acquiring and eating only organic food. He confessed that nobody in his house goes to hospital for any sickness. Needless to add that under total lockdown, my friend is finding it difficult to assemble these ingredients and is becoming increasingly afraid that lack of them can compromise the immune system of his family. A person that is locked down obviously may not have good exercise because people prefer strolling or jogging around for exercise. Again, there cannot be a better exercise than for a person to engage in his job, farming or vocational, throughout the day. Do I have to add that when a man is poor with children and no food in the house he cannot rest even if he closes his eyes and pretends to sleep? Do I need to add also that even the rich cannot sleep under lockdown because they are afraid that the poor who are hungry can eat them up? So under lockdown, both the rich and the poor cannot rest. All in all, the lockdown has not shown that it helps build the immune system which naturally helps fend off the virus. This means that ultimately we may have more deaths from the virus during lockdown, even if, we have less rate of infections during the lockdown.
Our hospitals are ill equipped to handle thousands of infected persons at the same time. A revelation from Lagos State government that it may have about 120,000 infected people by July puts paid to the idea that they can cope with the situation. Other states too cannot cope. There is no need to forcefully take anybody to the isolation centre if the person can take care of himself at home. A dedicated wife can take care of her husband better, and vice versa, at home with proper guidance from their private medical doctors than the NCDC who has confessed that they don’t have any known cure for the virus or unlimited space to accommodate infected people. Indeed people in isolation centres have started protesting against ill-treatment of them.
The new approach entails an end to any fear of this virus. We are brave people and must fight this virus not hide from it. The Federal Government must lift the entire lockdown and leave the Governors to determine their policies based on peculiar circumstances. The Federal Government covered only 3 million households in its assistance to the poorest of the poor. They were credited with N20,000.00 naira which represents two months of their allowance. In a country that has about 80 million persons under poverty, this cannot alleviate the poverty of the poor. Available palliatives pale to insignificance compared to the mammoth population.
No government has the right to compell any person, whom it is not catering for or giving food, to stay at home and die. We are left with only one option, allow our lives and livelihoods to come back to normal. The governments should provide the guidelines for our new reality and enforce them squarely.