No one thought it would turn out like this. But it has. Like the canker worm, it is eating deeper and deeper.
Markets are tumbling; stocks are losing in value; jetliners are being grounded all over the world as travel and tourism take a bashing.
Whole cities; whole countries; have been locked down. So the ever busy streets of some European and Asian countries are becoming empty. People are being restricted to their homes, and shops closed in some parts of the world.
Nobody knows who would be next, who is aidng the deadly advance of the killer, or what the remedy ought to be now that mankind is under intense attack.
It is here without any doubt. It is the Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19.
Many with scientific minds are already comparing the new virus to the deadly influenza which ravaged mankind years ago.
At first, there was this feeling that the advent of the virus as the Year of the Rat strolled by was a Chinese affair.
It wasn’t the symbolism of the Chinese new year which caught global attention despite the hype. It was Wuhan.
Except for regular visitors to China, it is doubtful Wuhan is that well known around the world.
But as the Chinese celebrated, talking about the symbolism of the rat in their culture and tradition, Wuhan was creeping into global limelight.
It wasn’t certainly for its nice deeds or its prowess. Of course, there might indeed be something good out of Wuhan.
This time, Wuhan was however brought to the fore because of its gift of a new killer, a virus that has since gone beyond the boundaries of China.
Numbers are changing rapidly as many more countries come under the spell of the virus. More than 5000 persons have died since the Coronavirus paid the world a visit.
Across continents, many more people as test results are showing, are becoming afflicted by the Coronavirus.
Such is the manner of its spread that men are keeping a safe distance from one another as a precaution.
So, if a man coughs in some way, experts say people should simply get on the marks, and if incessant coughing is trailed by sneezing, just get set.
Do not wait for the “go” call as you do on the racing track. Grow wings of your own and make a dash for it. It may be the difference between life and death.
The World Health Organization didn’t think there was any need to raise the alarm when it all began. It was content with the containment plan of the Chinese.
Who wouldn’t? The Chinese had acknowledged the outbreak of the virus without any hesitation. Shared constant information as it ought to with experts outside its territory, including those at the World Health Organization. Built and equipped a hospital in just 10 days to treat victims of the virus. Locked down Wuhan in order to reduce the pace of person to person transmission.
But the WHO has moved from its categorization of the risk level from high, very high, to the recognition of the advent of the Coronavirus as a pandemic.
Trump Wednesday night addressed the American people. For the first time, a different, less aggressive Trump, looking more like Mickey Mouse, appeared on television to accept America was indeed under attack.
Earlier, he had referred to the outbreak of the Coronavirus on American soil as a hoax by the Dems.
It was time to watch Trump eat his own words, time to see the transformation of the President into a soft spoken leader.
Since arriving at the Oval Office, tough-talking Trump hasn’t appeared as humble and self constrained. Wednesday night, I watched as he tried so hard to rebrand himself ; and so hard to show compassion.
Governments around the world are responding to the threat. In Nigeria, we’ve had regular briefs from the Minister of Health and others engaged in disease control since the index case was reported.
When Ebola knocked many over in other countries, Nigeria came out of the woods earlier than experts predicted.
Many hope that Nigeria would draw strength from its last experience. In banks and other public places, hand washing and use of sanitizers are being encouraged.
The people realize they may have to avoid public gatherings. They know that upholding one’s personal hygiene is critical in the fight to overcome the virus.
It may be proof of growing public awareness in Nigeria; evidence of how the people react, unite, when confronted by life-threatening challenges; or proof of the existence of competent hands in the medical sector.
Compared with other Sub-Saharan nations that have recorded cases of the Coronavirus, Nigeria’s capacity to deal with the spread of the pandemic is widely respected.
I find it of great interest that the world is now acting together in trying to find solutions. Recall that WHO had urged governments to devote more resources to the battle ahead.
People who thought the Coronavirus virus is a hoax are updating their world view of the pandemic.
As a result, there are robust efforts at the governmental and non governmental level aimed at creating appropriate synergy required to tackle the threat; moves to cultivate more intense interactions between governmental institutions and several international agencies
Scientists are looking for a cure. There has been talk of the development of vaccine types. Scientists seem to suggest they have stuff on the table which indicate that a new generation of vaccines are undergoing rigorous trials.
Interestingly, there is talk of a new find in Nigeria too. The Italian reputed to have brought the virus into the country has not died. Doctors say he is rather recovering.
A lockdown of 60 million people in Italy is on. The Americans have more than 1000 proven cases of the virus to deal with. About 37 Americans are dead due to the expanding pandemic.
There are growing concerns in South Korea, Japan and Iran. Germany and other European countries are responding to the pandemic threat.
The good thing is that test centres are being established globally while efforts are ongoing to eradicate shortfalls in the supply of medical comsumables that are needed to enhance man’s protection from diseases that are posing huge challenges.
Not many think highly of climatic change. I do. It is serious and most of us are worried about the consequences of human activity on the survival of the environment.
In the Niger Delta where I live, rainy seasons are fast becoming a horrifying experience. The land gives up water so easily when it rains. And the storm water, driven by rising sea levels are turning into massive floods.
Erosion isn’t giving up either. It is taking its toll. Gullies are dotting parts of the deltaic landscape more than ever before. Part of the coastline inhabited by the local people have been lost to the advancing water mass. Many more settlements are increasingly at risk of being washed away.
It would be interesting to measure the relationship between the outbreak of the latest virus and changes that are occurring in the environment.
Yet, the world has has an opportunity to adopt a more holistic approach. Science hasn’t failed either. Its warning systems show what will happen to a world in which man fails to play by the rules.
Will we listen to the caution of science? Or shall we continue to consider science and the findings that it makes a hoax?
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