By George Eze Emeghara
It appears the scenario many people were afraid of when the Corona virus hit Nigeria last year is now with us.
At the time not a few persons speculated that Nigeria would be hard hit with the number of infected people overwhelming our weak health infrastructure causing people to die in huge numbers.
Fortunately it didn’t happen that way thanks to the government’s prompt response which was very effective.
The entry points in to the country- airports, sea ports etc were shut down and a general lock down imposed.
While these measures did not eliminate the disease altogether, they helped to check the spread. Before long all the measures were relaxed and the entry points which were shut were reopened.
The people also stopped, or relaxed, whatever measures they were taking to protect themselves from the virus. Today, the virus is back with a big bang.
We are beginning to match the statistics with faces or names as more people are infected.
Several people I know have come down with the virus. For many the encounter was not too serious or damaging. For a number, according to them, it was like going to hell and coming back. Two of them told me it was not an experience they would wish on their worst enemy.
Sadly a few people I know, and many more I know of, have been consumed by the virus.
There is no day you don’t hear of one ” big man” or the other dying of complications from Covid 19.
The frequency of such reports has led some to conclude that Covid is a “big man’s “disease. They say it does not kill “poor” people.
Of course this is very far from the truth for several reasons.
Only the deaths of the rich and famous are newsworthy. No one reports the death of the unknown or anonymous unless the circumstances surrounding the death are unusual or spectacular.
So it is very possible the poor are dying in their numbers but because we don’t get to read about it, we assume it is not happening.
The living and working conditions of the average Nigerian predispose him to catching the virus more easily than the ” big man”.
The lack of access to, or prohibitive cost, of decent medical attention, ensures that in many cases, any of the less privileged who gets infected is doomed.
In the circumstances, anyone who insists that the poor are not dying is living in a fools paradise.
The virus does not know who is a big man or a poor man. It is not selective.
Anyone who has doubts that people are dying in greater numbers than usual should talk to doctors or visit the mortuaries and interview the attendants.
Considering the situation described above, it is difficult to understand why the Federal government does not want to impose a second lock down.
We can no longer pretend that nothing is happening or that all is well.
There is no doubt that travellers and holiday makers must have imported stronger and more virulent strains of the virus from different parts of the world as they came in for Christmas.
It is also possible that the government’s reluctance to lock down and shut the airports is to allow many of such holiday makers and visitors time to return to their countries of residence.
What ever the reason, the Federal government should lock the country down immediately.
Given the way this virus spreads, in multiples, delay is indeed dangerous.
There is no doubt that we are in a war situation. All that matters is survival.
The people who are talking about the negative impact of another lock down on the economy should ask themselves what the economy means to a dead man.
As for those our brothers and sisters who insist that ” there is nothing like Coro”, “It is a ploy by government people to chop money”. I wish them luck.
I pray they don’t learn about ” Coro” the hard way like Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump of the US.
Bolsonaro had dismissed Covid 19 as a ” little flu” while Trump insisted it was a ” hoax”, until they became afflicted.
If they had not received the best medicare their countries had to offer, their stories may have been different.
At the end of the day ” prevention is better than cure”. Let us observe Covid protocols and stay indoors as much as possible. Nothing is forever. This too shall pass.
Take care and stay safe.
George Eze Emeghara is a Nigerian journalist, writer and public affairs commentator based in the southeastern city of Owerri. Money Palaver is his column for Nairaweb.ng