A Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori, is worried about the attitude of Nigerians to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While Nigeria is about two months into the second wave of the pandemic, the virologist is concerned that slipping into a third wave will be dangerous for the people.
“If a third wave comes, I fear it is going to be worse than the second wave,” said Professor Tomori who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, adding “Back to the cases, 75-80 per cent of our people are not yet protected. So there are enough people for the virus to go round and multiply.”
“I said from the beginning that COVID-19 control is not a government business; it is that of the individual. If I don’t spread it to you, you don’t get it and if you protect yourself from me, then you don’t get it. So we need each of us to take the responsibility,” he advised.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in February last year, Nigeria has confirmed a total of 155,657 infections in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is the government agency responsible for the management of disease outbreaks in the country, shows that 1,544,008 samples have been collected as of March 1, 2021.
A further breakdown indicates that 133,841 people have recovered from the disease, 1,907 deaths recorded, and 19,909 cases still active.
During the period, the nation recorded its highest single-day figure on January 22, 2021 – 2,314.
Buhari Should ‘Say Something’
As part of the Federal Government’s effort to promptly tackle the outbreak, President Muhammadu Buhari had set up the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) and has been receiving updates from them.
Despite this, Professor Tomori is displeased with the way the President is handling the situation, saying he needs to address Nigerians from time to time.
He said, “Go and look at other countries where they are taking charge of their problem … they had their committees like PTF and the President came out regularly to let the people know, carrying the people along.
“The President (Buhari) is our rallying point, PTF is not our rallying point; we voted for the President and not for the PTF.”
“Occasionally, our President needs to come out and say something about what is going on … and that’s why governors from different places can say what they like because our President wasn’t saying what he needed to say,” the virologist added.
On how Nigeria should respond to the pandemic, he stated that imposing a lockdown was not the way to go but gathering data to tackle the problem from the root.
According to him, there is a need to identify the infected patients, determine their population, and ascertain how they got infected, among others.
“We need to then do a proper analysis of that and then use that one to plan, but there is a basic foundation to preventing disease – it is don’t spread it to people by using the non-pharmaceutical interventions,” said Professor Tomori.