Speaking of COVID-20 instead Of COVID-19

The reproduction rate of the novel coronavirus rises when the “R-number” increases.

The ‘R-number’ is so called because it’s the number infected persons pass the pandemic onto uninfected ones. Technically, for example, when the R-number is 3, 10 infected persons are most likely to infect 30 other persons. And when it is 0.5, the new number of infected persons then becomes 5.

According to medical practitioners, the ideal R-number rate shouldn’t be up to 1. Otherwise, a great many number of people would be exponentially infected. So, let’s ask, what if churches and schools are re-opened? Would the determiner of the COVID-19 reproduction rate –R-value – increase or decrease? That is, what would be the lot of many a Nigerian? The easing of the lockdown, since May, has been favourable to some Nigerians, who may have been badly hurt, especially those residing in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun. The April lockdown was “So what’s the point if businesses and hustling and bustling go on and churches and schools are not opened?” is one of the questions church faithful and school teachers are asking the government.

Needless to say, churches and schools are hotspots for some more alarming wave of infections. The significant number of churches and schools in Nigeria can contribute dramatically to the increasing number of confirmed cases and death tolls in particular. Effectively and efficiently, the lockdown would better help contain the ravaging and ramifications of that particular pandemic. It’s been a safer measure deployed by the government to still maintain its erstwhile position as far as possible that churches and schools remain locked-down. What’s more, it’s a way to fast-track and fortifies the efforts and concerns of the N.C.D.C. and the W.H.O. in curtailing and curbing the pandemic.

A patient infected with COVID-19 is treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on August 13, 2020. - The occupancy of ICU beds by COVID-19 patients has risen and reached the highest mark since the beginning of the pandemic in Porto Alegre, where only a 9.4% of UCI beds remain empty. (Photo by SILVIO AVILA / AFP)

Even though there’s been some partial lifting of the lockdown, church and school faithful shouldn’t resolve to demand the reopening of churches and schools as a result. When churches and schools are opened, souls are pretty more at the risk of contracting the coronavirus. The social distancing principle and hand sanitizing meant to flatten the curve might indeed be extremely violated, which shouldn’t be. That is to say that these precautionary measures, which are supposed to arrest the pandemic may well not be observed. Because when we are in church and school – and since our culture typically frowns upon the social distancing principle –I’m afraid we may even forget, unconsciously, to observe these safety measures some way or other. To be on a safer side, it’s best if churches and schools still endure the trying but passing times of being on a lockdown. In that way, the “R-number” would rather deescalate. On the other hand, those who have been called “silent spreaders” would stop spreading the virus to the detriment of others. Combating COVID-19 requires much more a comprehensive and cooperative effort as it were.

Rebelling against the injunctions and directives of government by not giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar might shockingly wreak wanton destruction, which would, in this time, be more humanly deadly and devastating. We should not be some group of unscrupulous Pharisees and Sadducees who are always planning and plotting to oust the Saviour in power.

On June 13 it was reported that England’s R-number had risen between 0.8 and 1.0, meaning that there would be more infected persons of COVID-19. It was not surprising, therefore, that the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since been tougher and stricter regarding the reopening of schools and churches. Before then, he had variously been urged to “get a grip” and accused of “winging it” and “an exit without a strategy” of the lockdown, especially on certain schools in the U.K. on June 1, particularly by the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. This should be our firm persuasion and disposition towards the government and health officials who are earnestly on the frontline battling and contending with the coronavirus that, in essence, we shouldn’t be released out of the lockdown without any tactical intelligence and well-intentioned strategy. So shall we continue to talk of COVID-19, in Nigeria in particular, while we grapple with the consequences of COVID-20? “And what are these consequences?” you ask. Again, broadly speaking, it is the consequences of a failed leadership. Could you please spare some moment and consider the overwhelming destruction Trump’s America, on one hand, and Bolsonaro’s Brazil, on the other, are going through as I write, even in 2020?

Respectively, they are the hardest-hit countries in that they have “intellectually undermined” the Covid-19, by saying its “China flu” and “little flu”. Isn’t it bothering and mind-boggling that each of these presidents would not only take hydroxychloroquine (which has not been deemed coronavirus vaccine by the W.H.O., by the way), but would also proclaim proactively that it is COVID-19-curative? What a shame, isn’t it? Now, the Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the reopening of churches on 7 August. The point is: are we prepared to prevent the surging of the novel coronavirus? I hope our lot, like Britain, won’t be that of “exit without strategy” as it were. So are we going to troop out of lockdown into churches on Sunday without any vaccine to Covid-20? The COVID-20 of contradicting simple commandments that could suppress and arrest COVID-19. Ultimately, we should not let our denominational facility be egregiously misused and manipulated by religious leader who are enmeshed in enriching their pockets.

Ige is a graduate of English, University of Lagos

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