In December 2019, a cluster of acute respiratory illness cases was reported in Wuhan, China all with a link to Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale market. The affected citizens were presenting with fever, dry cough, and other respiratory signs. By January 1st, 2020, China announced that the affected citizens tested positive for the coronavirus and immediately shut down the market. It spread fear and panic throughout China. People began to avoid human contact, stay indoors and sanitize their environments. By January 23, 2020, Wuhan City was locked down with restricted internal movement and all travel in and out prohibited.
Regardless, figures of cases and deaths escalated and the virus spread to other countries. As of 20 February 2020, a cumulative total of 75,465 COVID- 19 cases were reported in China. According to journals, bats appear to be the reservoir of the virus and it is spread via droplets and fomites. In weeks, several European countries (Including Italy, Spain, and France) had reported cases of COVID 19 (name as announced by WHO in February).
In weeks, China had rolled out what WHO has described as “the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history” with the immediate aim of controlling the source of infection, blocking transmission and preventing further spread. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the Director-General of WHO on March 11, 2020.
In Nigeria, life as we know it is taking a different turn. The President called for a lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun states respectively after addressing the nation on the pandemic. The Osun state government has imposed a 6am to 7pm curfew on the state. Times are changing and we are struggling to adapt, but that will by no means deter us.
WHAT WE KNOW
Prevention Works Best
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID- 19. The recommended preventive method is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
- Wash your hands regularly: Luckily for us, coronaviruses are easily killed by disinfectants. Soap and water are most effective for handwashing but an alcohol-based hand sanitizer works in the absence of Soap.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Stay home if you feel unwell: Protect others by avoiding possibilities of spreading the virus. Wear a facemask if you happen to be around other people
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: Complications of COVID-19 are more serious in immunocompromised individuals. Take Vitamin/Mineral supplements, eat balanced meals, get adequate sleep daily and boost your immune system.
Young People Are Not Invincible
Although older adults and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions that compromise their immune systems are at higher risk for grave complications from the virus, young people have been reported to need hospitalization after infection.
Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General said: “Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly shows that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization”.
Watching the news and monitoring the rate of occurrence of cases and the number of deaths can get one paranoid. Your mind will play lots of tricks on you during these times. You might suddenly find it frightening to even sneeze. It’s important to be able to identify the typical COVID-19 symptoms and report for treatment immediately.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are nonspecific and the presentation ranges from no symptoms to respiratory conditions and death. Based on reported cases so far, the symptoms include: Fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, chills, nausea, diarrhea, in descending order of occurrence in the cases.
These are uncertain times and a lot of individuals are currently slipping into depression. Canceled plans, social isolation are sending people spiraling with fear, anxiety, and loneliness. Maintaining a positive state of mind coupled with an attempt to stay productive in these times could be helpful. Also, adopting healthy routines that build the immune system like:
Eating balanced meals.
Taking vitamin supplements.
Staying physically active; Do exercises.
Limiting alcohol and sugary drinks
Getting adequate sleep.
The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) is working daily to keep us updated and safe. They can be reached on Whatsapp at 07087110839.
Stay AHEAD of COVID-19! This too shall pass.