From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has predicted that the worst of COVID-19 is yet to manifest going by the trend and the poor attitude of Nigerians towards the pandemic.
This, it said, was evident in the rise in confirmed cases, which might had heralded the third wave that came with Delta variant said to be more lethal because of its high transmissibilty.
NCDC Director General, Dr. Chike Ihekweazu, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epidemiology (NiCAFE) in Abuja, suggested a new approach that would be more effective in educating and sensitising the people against COVID-19 and other epidemics in Nigeria.
NiCAFE conference which had as its theme, “Building back better: COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks” brought together public health professionals, laboratory scientists, field epidemiologists, researchers, health care professionals and members of the public.
The participants reflected on the response to infectious disease outbreaks, reviewed gaps in epidemic preparedness and response and brainstormed on innovative solutions to strengthen health security.
Dr. Ihekweazu said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has, undoubtedly, turned our lives upside down with over 190 million infections and four million deaths, globally. In Nigeria, we have had over 170,000 infections and more than 2,000 deaths. However, It’s painful to say there is a possibility that we are yet to see the worst of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are not only faced with COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria but multiple concurrent disease outbreaks. In the last month alone, we have been responding to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, outbreaks of cholera in several states and the panic associated with the detection of a monkeypox case in the US with travel history from Nigeria.
“Every week, we detect cases of yellow fever, Lassa fever, measles, and other infectious diseases that are endemic in Nigeria. The reality is that our tropical climate, population density, poor socio-economic factors, leave us at risk of annual, multiple, concurrent disease outbreaks. Therefore, we must be one step ahead of these pathogens.
“We must also think of the other public health challenges that lie ahead of us. Our population is growing at a rapid phase and this will have an incredible impact on our health system.”
Meanwhile, NCDC said 407 persons tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.
The latest positive samples of COVID-19 were recorded in 17 states, according to the agency’s update for August 1.
Lagos topped the COVID-19 infection chart with 160 new cases, 75 in Akwa Ibom, 51 in Ondo, and 33 in Abia. Other states include Oyo (29), Kaduna (18), Katsina (7), Gombe (6), Ogun (6), Ekiti (5), Delta (4), FCT (4), Ebonyi (3), Edo (2), Niger (2), Bayelsa (1) and Nasarawa (1).
There were no fatalities on Sunday. The coronavirus death toll in the country still stands at 2,149.
The NCDC said 11 people were discharged on Sunday after recovering from the infection. With the new figure, a total of 165,005 patients have so far recovered from COVID-19 in Nigeria.