Coronavirus (COVID-19), a global pandemic has brought states like, Lagos, Abuja and Ogun to a lockdown, that took effect on Monday 11.00pm would last for at least two weeks.
President Muhammadu Buhari announced the lockdown on Sunday, a little over a month after Nigeria confirmed its first case. Home to an estimated 20 million people, Lagos is Africa’s most populous city and Nigeria’s financial hub. Abuja is the capital of the country and the seat of its government. Oil-rich Rivers state and Kaduna state in the north earlier imposed similar lockdown measures.
Speaking on the activities of the Federal Government over the lockdown, Chairman International Institutes of Advanced Research and Training at Chidicon Medical Center, Prof Philip Njemanze said, the possibility of patients who had recovered from COVID-19 test positive a second time. According to him, there could be a super infection.
“It is very possible, usually, with almost all viruses, once they occur, the anti body takes about 21 days to manufacture. So, if there is a super infection, before that maturity time, the person can have another infection because of the defend system is not yet there. Usually, the people who suffer coronavirus always, just like other viruses gets anti body and recover but if they “recovered” that means they got better but they really don’t have sufficient anti bodies, they can get a super infection.
He said: “Although, they are talking about the second wave of the COVID-19 maybe sometime next year, what is happening with COVID-19 is that it’s just like other respiratory virus. It is occurring across a climatic belt, between 30 and 50 degrees north latitude from China to the United States, all across Europe.
“So, the reason for virus and why it started was because the humidity in China dropped to about 20 to 30 per cent. Once the humidity drops, the air became so dry, the entire respiratory tracts itself, the hairy epidermal cells stops working and the mucus becomes thick and every bacterial and virus in the respiratory system starts replicating.
“However, now there is relief, not because of the genuineness of the Chinese authority, but because in Wuhan now, the humidity is over 74 per cent. What really happened is because the condition that precedented the result in United States and all across was the low humidity.”
The weather and COVID-19
Njemanze disclosed that what Nigerians are experiencing is exported cases, which cannot transmit in our environment. “We usually have high humidity, for instance in Lagos, we have over 60 to 70 per cent, in Owerri, we can have 50-70 per cent sometimes. In coastal region, it is even higher, so,W the virus cannot transmit.
“When the humidity is high, the minute vapours that are in the air are so many. So when one cough out and produce the aerosols that are suppose to contain the virus, immediately they go out, they get knocked into the other vapour and then they get knocked out and cannot transmit. That is why snow diseases are seasonal; it can only start up when the humidity is low.”
He also argued that all the measures impose by government does not make sense. “Yes! The only measures useful is when there is a close space, for instance, when you enter a church or superstores where there is a lot of people, you wear a mask, this is what is called barrier.
“As a doctor, we fight with these things every day, we come across different cases and we don’t get sick because we put a barrier. If people were to do that in this period of uncertainty, either you’re going into a banks or anywhere else or in public transport, or as you move about your daily activities with a mask on, there won’t be need for the lockdown. Lockdown is not going to help the masses in anyway.
“People’s blood pressures are dropping and there is no way to get the fluid. The fluids are sold in shops but when the shops are locked, where and how do you get them. The security agencies are not helping matters either as there’re definitely going to be casualties. What sense does that make! You’re looking for a remedy but indirectly causing more pain than the disease would ever cause.”
Managing the virus
He continued: “I feel this is all a senseless politics. You cannot fight a disease with politics, it is a medical condition, and doctors should be allowed to do their jobs. Of all diseases, COVID-19 is the least. The mortality rate of COVID-19 is about one per cent. The mortalities we deal with are around 10-15 per cent.
“People in-charge of managing the virus does not have monopoly of knowledge and does not read all the literature. Watching CNN and copying what Americans are doing is not enough. They should try and listen to expect.”
According to him, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu who recently travelled to China said he went there to understudy how they are fighting the virus.
“What they forgot is that the condition in China is not same as we have here in Nigeria. Nigeria is completely a different place. Firstly, the weather is completely different, the whole resources system is different, the health care is different, so, what are you understudying? The only thing one can take from China is the effectiveness of chloroquine for the virus and how they did it. So for me, that is the only take home from China.”
He added: “The whole condition is completely different. Nigeria doctors have been dealing with diseases that are more dangerous than coronavirus ie, Lassa fever. The country overcame Ebola but it devastated Republic of Congo and some parts of Africa region.
“Nigeria is copying the west a lot. What this crisis has revealed is the emptiness in their system. The west that Nigeria is copying has a faulty and very weak system. Even with the number of doctors, equipment and others, which is what they can boast of, the truth is, this is not what health is based on. Health is based on traditional knowledge system that has passed from generation to generation.
“For example, those days, when one is sick, one of the treatments given then by our mothers is; they boil water and after cover you with a blanket under the hot water in a bowel and after ten minute, you’re running around. This is one of the best sciences on earth. It brings the humidity in your lungs to 95 per cent, and at this point, nothing can transmit at that level.
“The traditional knowledge system, which has passed over thousands of years, is actually the main driver of health and not with the whole equipment join together. The Americans cannot even contain the outbreak, so what if they are to have Lassa fever outbreak, then everybody will die.”
He said: “I am familiar with their system because I studied and worked in the United State. Also, I have travel to about 42 countries, so I can attest to it. The truth is that the system is completely weak, and cannot face the kind of challenge we face here in Nigeria.
“The problem we have as a country is bad governance; it has nothing to do with the health system because Nigeria has the best doctors and nurses.
We need to work inward, if humidity devices are put in strategic places, i.e at home, hospitals, markets, malls, banks etc., once the ambience humidity is high there is nothing to transmit. With a humidity of about 60-70 per cent, you are safe and no transmission of any kind can get to you. However, if you want to wear a mask, you can as it is just a barrier system.
Those at risk of COVID-19
Njemanze said all immune compromise persons are likely to develop serve illness, persons with HIV, TB, or any implicating disease, severe anaemia e.t.c. “In our condition here, as far as children are concerned, it is diarrhoea.
“Diarrhoea disease over here wipes out immunity. For some, the immune system is quite resilient and they can even worn off the virus on their own.”