A pandemic happens when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably because there is little or no pre-existing immunity (vaccine) against the new virus. It then spreads worldwide.
The first pandemic in the world with highest number of casualties was “Influenza (Flu)1918 Pandemic”.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States of America (USA),” the 1918 Influenza Pandemic was the most severe pandemic in history. It was caused by a H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin”.
There was no consensus record of the country where the virus originated but some experts confirmed Spain and called it Spanish Flu. It is on record that it spread across the globe between 1918 and 1919.
CDC record shows that about five hundred million people or one-third of the world’s population were then infected. The number of deaths recorded was about fifty million worldwide while America alone was estimated about six hundred and seventy five thousand deaths. The record shows that mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old and 65 years and older.
Apart from the Influenza (Flu) 1918 above mentioned, there were other outbreak of pandemics on record before then but with lesser mortality rate. Amongst were: Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic:1793, Flu Pandemic: 1889-1890 among others. Among the post Influenza Flu 1918 pandemic were: Asian Flu: 1957-1958, H1N1 Swine (Mexico)Flu Pandemic: 2009-2010, West African Ebola Epidemic: 2004-2016.
Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 tagged “CONVID-19”.
The virus recently emerged in Huanan Seafood and Poultry Market in the city of Wuhan, China in early December, 2019. According to a China Government Data, cited by South China Morning Post, the disease was first confirmed in November 17, 2019 in Wuhan, China.
Experts from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) USA affirm that SARS-CoV2 originated in bats. Also, Professor Stephen Turner, Head of the Department of Microbiology at Melbourne’s Monash University, Australia, confirms bats as the originator of the virus. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are other examples of coronavirus that can be transmitted to human beings.
SARS-CoV-2 infected customers buying fish, meat and animals that are killed on the spot for customers in Huanan meat market. The disease was reportedly infected both the sellers and customers in the market initially and then, infected their family members and those they are in contact with.
That was how the spread began in China. The disease infected those with direct contact with the animals (either as buyers or sellers). But a result later showed some were infected without direct contact with animals but as a result of contact with the initial victims who are either animal sellers or buyers. Some experts claim that was how the virus was transmitted from one human to another. It has now spread beyond China to almost entire world.
The outbreak of coronavirus across the globe has become top news among the nations. It is an empirical crisis that is giving scientists and medical experts sleepless nights in combating the installment killer.
China, where the disease originated has overcome the crisis as businesses have returned to normalcy. But the story is not the same in some countries. According to Johns Hopkins, more than 4.5 million confirmed cases and more than 300,000 associated deaths globally recorded. The United States of America (USA) for instance, with her intellectual capacities and advanced technology, is the most affected nation in the world with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 86,000 died of the disease as at the time of this write up.
Nevertheless, medical experts and researchers around the world are still on research for the vaccine that can prevent or heal the pandemic virus.
As a result of unavailability of vaccine that can prevent or cure the ailment, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other similar Agencies across the world identify some precautions against the medical crisis. Moreover, everyone subscribes that “Prevention they said is better and cheaper than cure.”
Some precautionary measures are identified by experts and are here grouped into three in the editorial. Each one is reviewed in appreciating how effectively people can avoid avoidable measures in the society.
It is the opinion of the Editor-in-Chief to appreciate the probability of compliance by the masses. Are preventive (avoidable) measures recommended by the experts are really avoidable? If yes, to what extent and period of time? These and more are here discussed with “Facts, not Fictions”.
According to medical reports, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted among people through respiratory droplets and contact routes. Accidental discharge from coughs, sneezes and saliva are prominent in this category. Medical researchers are of opinion to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue when at home and then throw it to a trash can. While a face mask is recommended to cover nose and mouth when going outside the residence.
The recommended avoidable precaution of the respiratory droplets and contact routes is the use of face mask. Availability and affordability of the mask to the ruralists who are the majority in Nigeria is a major setback and may become a challenge. To some people, the mask is not a precautionary measure because is not treated neither disturbing breathing in of oxygen that may contain the virus. Therefore, such people are “Avoiding unavoidable precaution”.
Reversely to those who comply with the use of mask, for how long are they putting on the device? Will they not one day throw the mask to a trash? Therefore, joining the group of “Avoiding unavoidable precautions.”
Another source of the infection is through human contact. Human contact here means social interaction with people from different locations at the same venue. Social gathering such as; schools, meetings, churches, mosques, markets etc are in this group. Hand shakes, hugging, mass travelling such as planes, buses and trains are inclusive. Avoidable precautions here include maintain of a minimum of six feet Social Distance, putting on of hand glove, avoiding visitation or close contact with people who are sick, sit at home and avoiding unnecessary travelling.
Medical record shows this source has recorded more causalities than others because of its unavoidable elements. All the mentioned social gatherings are part of Nigerians and Africans daily routine. Other elements are also regular on daily basis. Therefore, how avoidable are these avoidable precaution to Nigerians and African culture of “Be your brothers’ keeper”?
The editor is of opinion that the source is increasing the infection in Nigeria and Africa in general than other two sources. This is as a result of the social elements involved. Therefore, how avoidable is the human contact precaution in the society?
The third precaution of CONVID-19 according to experts is to avoid contaminated objects. Public facilities such as; public toilets, transportation systems, public surfaces such as; buttons, stairs railings, handles, knobs and other places touched often are in the group.
Other elements in this group are to: avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same, if no soap and water available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol among others. These precautions are recommended by medical experts for preventing the infection.
How effectively the masses can comply with the medical recommendations as above stated? That is, how avoidable can the masses avoid the avoidable precautions? Most of the elements above mentioned are public facilities which are exposed to the infection through human contact.
On this note, the editor appeals to all to observe the precautionary measures as directed by the experts. This would discourage the spread of the virus in the society. Everybody is advised to “Play and Remain Safe” because “Health is Wealth” says an adage.