Covid-19 second wave: It’s a new year but the virus is still here
Its year 2021, crossing over to the new year was a relief for us. Many of us felt like 2020 needed just go away with all its stress and bad news so we all could rest. The excitement barely lasted two days before we had to face the reality that not much had changed but the calendar year. As if 2020 was not bad enough, COVID-19 had to follow us into the new year and it’s raging like never before, spreading like wildfire and sadly, it’s already taking many lives already. The scariest part of what is going on is that most people do not care anymore about the virus.
Just last week on my way back from work, I commuted through Ojuelegba, a very busy area in Lagos state and I decided to do a quick survey of how many people were wearing a face mask, surprisingly, I estimated only about 30 percent were wearing a mask. Of the 30 percent, many were hanging the mask loosely on their ear while others wore it on their chin. This is a state that currently has the highest recorded cases in the country, yet many seem not to care.
The first wave was scary for most people, especially when it newly hit Nigeria it was like the world was about to end. Some people barely left their homes, washing their hands every now and then, nose masks became a booming business, hand sanitizers became scarce but as time went on, people grew tired, at least they are not dead and they do not know anyone that has the virus, they say.
The second wave is here and this time, it is spreading rapidly than the first wave. Nigeria has recorded over 6000 new cases of COVID-19 and over 40 deaths within the first week of 2021. This statistic is worrisome considering the fact that the over 6000 new cases recorded over the last 7 days are way higher than the total infections recorded in the first 75 days when it hit the country in 2020. If there is a time to be more cautious it is now.
With the swift spread of the virus in recent times, it almost feels like we need a lockdown now than ever but experts have warned that this could shred the already fragile economy into pieces. The economy is currently in a recession, its second recession in 5 years, inflation is at 14.89 percent, the highest in 32 months, other economic indicators are looking gloomy as well. Experts say the economy cannot afford a second lock down and we are yet to recover from the first. The government has also not made any official announcement regarding a second lockdown. However, the government continues to urge citizens to abide strictly by COVID-19 protocols.
Why wear a mask when there is a vaccine?
Although we have heard news that Nigeria might be getting a number of vaccines soon which is great news but as of this moment, they are not here yet. The news that there is a vaccine for the virus has been a cause for many to feel like the plague is over but it is not, even in countries that are fortunate to have vaccinated over half of their citizens, they still record daily fatalities from the virus. Also, with the information we have as of now, the incoming vaccines cannot go round everyone, not even half of the Nigerian population. This is an indication that all COVID rules must still be observed.
It is also worthy of mention that even after getting the vaccine, you still need to wear a mask and observe all protocols. According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), a person needs two shots of the vaccine. After you receive the second shot, your body needs time to build the protection needed to fight the virus. It could take up to two weeks for the vaccine to begin protecting you against the coronavirus. The second shot give much longer protection. So, the wearing of masks is not going away anytime soon even though we have a vaccine.
How to stay healthy and safe
I have heard of prominent people who died from COVID-19 complications and survivors have also testified that it is not a pretty illness to deal with. We all want to stay healthy in 2021, so that we can achieve our goals, therefore we must continue to abide by the rules. We have heard them a gazillion times already but there is nothing harmful about a reminder.
As cases of COVID-19 begin to spike again across the country, it’s important to be committed in helping to prevent the further spread of the virus. You should continue to wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face, follow social distancing rules and wear a mask whenever you are leaving your home.
This is also a good time to imbibe a healthy diet, eat fruits and vegetables, exercise and pay attention to your mental health.
Stay safe, the virus is still here.