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Daily COVID Tracker: Perks of double masking, WHO’s Wuhan headway, drone-lifted vaccines

Samuel Akpan

As the second wave of COVID-19 continues to ravage most countries of the world, here are five updates about the pandemic this Thursday morning.


COVAX donates vaccine doses to Nigeria

The much-awaited vaccine intervention has finally arrived. COVAX, the global alliance against COVID-19, has donated over 16 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria. COVAX said the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine doses will cover the first half of 2021 and delivery is estimated to begin in late February.

Between 35 and 40 percent of the doses are expected in the first quarter of the year while the remaining is due in the second quarter. A total of 336 million doses were announced to be donated to over 120 countries.


The donation is, however,  under “indicative distribution”, meaning that it is subject to change and not binding on COVAX.

Kaduna to deliver COVID-19 vaccines with drones

There is yet hope that underserved and remote communities will benefit from the COVID-19 vaccines, courtesy of an innovative agreement between the Kaduna state government and Zipline.


Drones of the American company will now be used to distribute medical supplies across the state.

The drones would be used for on-demand delivery of vaccines, blood products, and life-saving medication. Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, said the partnership will ensure that millions of people in the state get the care they need.

WHO inspectors visit Wuhan virus lab

The clamour to understand the origin of the coronavirus received a boost on Wednesday.

An investigative team of the World Health Organisation (WHO) finally gained access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which houses a laboratory known for research in coronaviruses.

The institute has been at the centre of a number of claims that a laboratory leak was the trigger for the outbreak in December 2019.

The common sense in ‘Double masking’

Double masking may be extremely uncomfortable but it is said to have the ability to create a more physical barrier from the coronavirus.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said while there is no official recommendation yet, double-masking, or layering two masks on top of each other may be the “common sense approach” in increasing protection.

Similarly, a 2020 study found that surgical masks were about 50% effective at protecting the wearer and about 60% to 70% in protecting others. But experts believe that putting a surgical mask under the cloth mask is more than 90% effective at removing particles.

No wonder Amanda Gorman donned two masks to the inauguration of Joe Biden as US president.

COVID-19  fuels ‘she-cession’ in the US

The unemployment ripple effect of COVID-19 is hitting women hard.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women accounted for all the job losses in December, losing 156,00 jobs, while men gained 16,000.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a labour firm has warned that future economic success will be compromised unless employees can bring women back to work.

According to the firm, more than 2.1 million women have left the US labour market completely since the beginning of the pandemic, 20% more than the number of men.


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