• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Oga-Coro (Covid-19): The good, the bad, the ugly and the messy

Oga-Coro (Covid-19): The good, the bad, the ugly and the messy

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic caused by a novel virus called SARS-CoV-2, which originated from Wuhan, China. It has intimidated, imprisoned, starved and systematically caused death and destruction in its wake in all corners of the Earth for over the past two years and is not yet done with humanity.

Abou six hundred and thirty million people have been infected worldwide and more than 6.5 million have died as at 7/11/22. During my most difficult days in April 2020, while I was admitted and battling Covid-19 in a private isolation room of a hospital where I had practiced medicine for decades, it was inconceivable to me that I would be reviewing a book on Covid-19 today. I felt that this virus, for reasons unknown, had sought me out and was hell-bent on destroying me.

For most of the 12 days I was hospitalised, I was getting progressively closer to my ancestors but by the grace of God, my journey to the great beyond was aborted at the last second – apparently because I was tardy in completing my earthly assignments.

Covid-19, however, left a calling card—the so-called long-hauler’s syndrome. It took the better part of a year to overcome this lingering, frustrating affliction. Due to my horrible experience with this virus, I made it my duty to know almost everything said or written about it. I suspect that my medical background, early personal experience with this virus and my attempt (through a zoom conference) to raise an alarm about it played a significant role in landing me this assignment.

I implore all to get your vaccinations now and follow all public health recommendations. Covid-19 has come to stay. It won’t continue indefinitely as a pandemic but the probability is that it will remain endemic – and its last victim is yet unborn

I met Ik Muo, PhD, the author of this book, in Lagos, just four months before I contracted Covid-19. I was on my way back to the United States, my home for the past few decades. His reputation preceded him, for I had not only heard of him and about him, I had also read some of his writings. His inimitable style, combining jocularity, satire, wit and a penchant for creating new English words and phrases, was impossible to forget or ignore.

Since then, I have been following with keen interest his prolific writings, which I found to be invariably factually correct, thoroughly researched and fun reading. In this book, Oga-Coro, he brought together his academic research expertise from years as a professor in the Department of Business Administration in OOU, Ago-Iwoye, and over four decades of writing experience in other media.

This 450-page attractively packaged book of 56 chapters, is a compilation of his writings from the onset of this pandemic till now. In it, the author chronicles the information, misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories and events in real time, as the pandemic developed and the high price humanity paid and is still paying for them. He reflects on the human condition, the utter dread of a new, deadly, invisible affliction without a known cure, the staggering destruction of lives and devastation of livelihoods by mandated “stay-at-home” orders.

He also captures the whole spectrum of human emotions, character and behaviour from (yes!) the good, the bad, the ugly and the messy in all social strata. Covid-19, no respecter of persons, was and is an equal-opportunity killer of the rich, the poor, the famous and the not-so-famous, Presidents, Kings, Queens, Priests, Pastors, athletes, couch potatoes, etc.

As morbid as the effects of Covid-19 are, the author found a way to lighten the mood by creating some levity – some might even say “entertainment.” He cleverly created dramatic interludes or diversions by touching on tangential subjects and using new self-created words and phrases like “coronious pestilence, dynamics of covidflation, covidious, cacovid, coronalised, covidology, politics of covid, palliativising, reverse palliatives, celebrity pandemic, global economy staggering like a drunken sailor,” which are few reflections of a unique imagination and writing style.

There are very few writings in which Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic” share space with Machiavelli’s “The Prince” but you will find both complementing each other here. The length and breadth of information in these writings is simply awesome and awe-inspiring. It is impossible to paint a full picture of the contents of this book. It is a must-read for all. As the saying goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

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While this book can be entertaining, it is also a serious work, and a great contribution to society. The author, although not a medical authority, may have saved more lives than many in the healing arts, by responsibly bringing vetted medical information to a vast audience in a way that is not intimidating, easy to understand and fun. Beyond giving insight into the human condition and chronicling the evolution of the pandemic and the human responses to it, the author unequivocally made it clear that Coronavirus disease is REAL, that it kills, and that there are mitigating factors to the pandemic including but not limited to social distancing, general awareness, use of disinfectants and washing of hands, avoiding crowds, especially indoors, the wearing of masks, vaccinations and “boosting,” knowledge of symptoms, early testing and diagnosis, self-quarantine, serial testing as necessary, early medical attention and use of intravenous monoclonal antibodies and oral medications as they became available.

With committed research, he was on the right side of medical knowledge as it progressed. How many peoples’ lives he saved will remain a matter for debate but I am convinced that he helped save many. Presently, unfortunately, covid-19 has become and remains the pandemic of the unvaccinated. While vaccinated people can still get infected, their symptoms are invariably mild and they are unlikely to end up in hospitals or die.

This book is a worthwhile contribution to knowledge on an issue of current and global concern. I unequivocally recommend this unique compendium that focuses on the socio-cultural, political, economic and religious dynamics of Covid to all and sundry, including policy-makers, public-health management professionals, academics, my fellow medics and the general public. As a parting word of advice from a physician who had a serious case of Covid-19, has been vaccinated twice and “boosted,” I implore all to get your vaccinations now and follow all public health recommendations. Covid-19 has come to stay. It won’t continue indefinitely as a pandemic but the probability is that it will remain endemic – and its last victim is yet unborn.

· Author: Ik Muo. Publisher: Potter Creations, Enugu. Pagination: 450. Chapters: 56

Ezeife is chairman-emeritus, Department of Ob/Gyn, Capital Health System, Pennington, New Jersey, USA