How critical is July in flattening the curve?

How critical is July in flattening the curve?
June 27
08:29 2020


Now, more than ever, the government must get its decisions spot on.

Nigeria is now the third African country with the highest number of coronavirus cases, behind South Africa and Egypt —twenty thousand and counting, and many are beginning to question if the government can effectively manage the scourge.

If March and April were months when establishment of testing centres were to be scaled up, May and June should have been the months when tests are massively scaled up.

As a matter of fact, Nigeria is a far cry from the two million tests that Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, assured by the end of June. That figure currently stands at little over 125,000 samples.

The problem is that four months into the virus, there are still not enough tests to better control the virus despite promises from the taskforce to do so. The reason this is a problem is that our response to the virus is better informed by data from comprehensive testing.

One other thing we have learnt of ourselves is the increasing negligence of this virus. As days run into weeks and weeks into months, speculations that coronavirus is a sham in Nigeria is growing like wildfire.

Since we can no longer trust the government to considerably ramp up testing to the promised figures in the next weeks, neither do we expect the speculation to loose hold any soon, what can we expect of the virus in July?

Recent data now suggest a wee bit of consistency in the Covid-19 plot. The daily increase percentage dropped from 28.8% to 26.6% from 15th to 18th, then increased to 29.3% on 19th before dropping to 26.2% on 21st of June.

Talks of flattening the curve is beginning to frequent in the taskforce daily briefing. But even if we are beginning to do so, it would be of great wisdom to vote against moving to the next phase of easing of the lockdown.

It was a mistake to transition from phase 1 to phase 2 so quick despite the surge in cases, which was communicated as a consequence of increased testing. And Nigerians now expect a transition to phase 3 since phase 1 and 2 spanned a month each.

Let’s not forget that a lot of people now firmly believe that there is no coronavirus in Nigeria. But can we trust each other, as Nigerians, to be responsible with our activities should restrictions be relaxed further?

Think about it, we now realise that we do not have the testing capacity, despite whatever assurance is given, to keep up with any spike in new cases.

It is also questionable why the South West was actively involved in the easing-of-lockdown plan even after collected data suggested that the region is most ravaged by the virus with about 53% back on May 1 — that is 32% more than the North West, which was second with 20%.

I had thought that DG Chikwe Ihekweazu word that he had rather be “slow and get it right” than “fast and be sorry” would ring well within the PTF. If our hopes and prayers for July is a significant level of stability, then we can do better than to worsen community transmission through menacing relaxations.

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