COVID-19 & COLLATERALS

As twisted and as illogical or antithetical as it may seem… I dare suggest that the mockery of a lockdown in different parts of Nigeria should cease forthwith.

Lockdown as a containment measure will not work in Nigeria.

If the virus doesn’t blossom in Nigeria, it will be because of some hitherto ill-understood factors, not lockdown.

Criminality is billowing exponentially in different parts of the country today. Daily wage earners have been left stranded. They have to find a way to survive, covid or no covid. Hunger is a more imminent and dehumanizing danger than whatever covid represents actively or potentially.

Lockdown by government directive will not be obeyed. Maybe when the virus starts wrecking havoc in close neighbourhoods, people with capacity to endure and survive lockdown will advise themselves better.

Our government should open up the system, or else our already fragile economy will come crashing upon our individual and corporate heads. Be sure that will leave everyone with fractured necks with head injuries to boot.

This is not to trivialize the mortal danger of covid. The disease is as gruesome as it is soulless. Healthcare workers are right to demand maximum protection before undertaking the battle against covid. Yet in doing this, they ought to remember that nothing has grounded other lethal diseases that have long been part of our reality and ecosystem. Letting patients of undetermined diagnosis die without basic attention for fear of covid seems ultra-paranoid to me.

Yes, it does appear that covid is the most infectious disease ever known to mankind, but we shouldn’t fight it with callous inhumanity. How would we feel if a child presenting with pneumococcal pneumonia with readily available treatment is allowed to die without any form of assessment or attention? We can further drive it home by imagining such a child as ours. Definitely, the angst and pain will permeate every nucleus of our cells.

Having the full complement of PPE is the ideal as covid has been reported to present very atypically, but we are not unaware that even advanced nations are struggling with supplies currently. It then behoves the third world countries like ours to evolve a creative way of managing our patients without being crassly reckless. Indeed, hospital managers should be able to provide N95 facemasks for her staff, but workers themselves can have one or two personal ones handy for exigencies. That could be seen as our individual support for the battle against covid. It will remain eerily and transcendentally rueful and regrettable to have someone die rescuable death just for phantom fear of covid. Though anecdotal, it is believed that Nigeria now has more para-covid collaterals mortality toll than covid itself.

Truth remains that as long as we elect to work in a hospital, there will always be a marginal risk of infectious diseases (not just covid) we will have to endure or deal with. The statistics isn’t very much different even in the best of climes. Ours might have been made more gory by the pitiable pittance healthcare workers earn as hazard allowance, and the absence of government driven life insurance for them, no doubt. While engaging the government to address those vital concerns, healthcare workers should consider separating from their families till this covid dust settles. Spouses who both work in a hospital might to relocate their children temporarily, or have one of them excused from duty for the time being. These are no easy measures, but we have to understand that covid hasn’t made it easy for humanity in general. Unusual times should be matched with unusual measures, but that shouldn’t include passive homicides by those vested with the responsibilities of saving lives.