Coronavirus is a virus that belongs to a family of virus which causes various illnesses such as fever, pneumonia, lung infection and the newly discovered coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 i.e., COVID–19. These coronaviruses were commonly known to show its presence in animals; with few cases only known to affect humans in the past; and presently the COVID-19 virus which typically affects the respiratory tract, but their effects are known to extend to other parts of the body system.
Coronavirus got its name “corona” from the crown-like spikes which is seen on the surface of the virus under an electron microscope.
Most coronavirus such as fever and cold are usually mild in nature but some can be severe; and it examples include the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS); and also, the new COVID-19 which can be dangerous (lead to death) if not properly managed.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that is caused by the newly discovered coronavirus. It’s an RNA virus that is caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which triggers a respiratory tract infection. It can affect the upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose and throat) or the lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs). After its initial breakout in Wuhan, China; the virus COVID-19 has become a global pandemic.
The COVID-19 epidemic started late December, 2019 when some clusters of patients were admitted at a Hospital in Wuhan, China’s 7th most populous city on the account of pneumonia of an unknown etiology. From December 18, 2019 through December 29, 2019, five patients were hospitalized with acute respiratory distress syndrome and one of these patients died. By January 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospitals patients had been identified as having laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection, less than half of these patients had underlying diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. And with this confirmation, it was presumed that these patients ere infected at the hospital.
After this discovery, it was concluded that the COVID-19 was not a super-hot spreading virus (spreading from one patient to another), but rather it was spreading due to patients getting infected at different locations throughout the hospital through unknown circumstances. In addition to that, it was only patients that were clinically ill that were tested, thus there were likely more patients that were presumably infected. As at 2nd of March, 2020, 8565 cases and 132 deaths were confirmed in China and other countries that include Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, Canada, United States of America, Germany, Iran and Italy. It was after this occurrence that the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 as a global pandemic on the 11th of March, 2020.
The first case of COVID-19 infection confirmed in the United States led to the description, identification, diagnosis, clinical course, and management of the case. Also, the first case of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was reported in the US on January 30, 2020.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is constantly increasing globally, but advancement in technology and medical research is aiding the fight against the pandemic.
After contraction of the virus, most individuals with COVID-19 usually experience mild to moderate respiratory illness requiring no special treatment, making it easy to recover quickly. Others may develop severe breathing conditions and need to spend time at the hospital before recovery. Also, COVID-19 could take a more severe approach especially within older persons or individuals with underlying medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer.
According to The World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has been proven that COVID-19 tends to be fewer in children than adults. But children and infants with certain medical conditions may have an increased risk of severe illness or death.
There is also a higher risk of COVID-19 if the virus is discovered in pregnant women; causing still-birth or premature birth; however, the pertinent role of the virus during this time can’t be emphasized.
What Number of People Are Infected With COVID-19?
Globally, the number of people that are infected with COVID-19 increases daily. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The World Health Organization (WHO) are daily gathering data, giving information and continuously learning about the virus and its outbreak. Presently, more than two million five hundred thousand persons (2,500,000) have died from an estimated one hundred and fourteen million cases (114,000,000). The United States of America takes the lead on both number of death and cases recorded.
How Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted?
The COVID-19 virus primarily spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose of an infected person’s cough or sneezes. It enters the body through the mouth, nose or eyes (once there is a direct contact from the airborne droplets or transfer of the virus from the hands to the face); by touching surfaces that the virus has landed on, then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose before washing of the hands. After contact has been made, the virus then travels from the nasal passage (nose) and mucous membrane into the throat, where it attaches it cells; multiplying and gradually moving into the lungs; thereafter spreading to the other body tissues.
To avoid the transmission of COVID-19, it is advisable to remain safe by following certain health guidelines that includes:
Who Are Those At Risk Of Contracting COVID-19?
Anybody is a t risk of getting or contracting COVID-19, but people who are at greater risk includes:
Coronavirus in Nigeria
COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria is part of the global pandemic of the coronavirus disease, which is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), after the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China, training of rapid response squad across the 36 states of the Federation was concluded as at the end of December, 2019. On the 28th January, 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria assured its citizens in strengthening the surveillance of all of its five (5) international airports cut across the country, so as to prevent the inbound spread of the coronavirus disease among its citizen. The government set up coronavirus groups at these airports which was ready to activate its incident system in case there was any emerging case in the country.
Following this development, The World Health Organization (WHO) on the 31st January, listed Nigeria as one of the 13 African countries which was at high-risk for the spread of the COVID-19 virus after the pandemic had spread to China mainland.
On the 26th February, 2020, a Chinese citizen who recently arrived from China presented himself to the Lagos State government of the suspicion of getting infected with the coronavirus, but was released the following day after results showed that he was negative from the virus.
Although the government had strengthened the surveillance at the airport since January, 2020, Nigeria still recorded its index case in Lagos State on the 27th February, 2020, after an Italian who recently returned from Milan, Italy fell ill the previous day and was transferred to the Lagos State biosecurity facilities for isolation and testing. This index case raised concerned on the effectiveness of the airport surveillance because there was no way of accumulating the number of persons the Italian had met, having visited some other states in the country.
As at 27th March, 2020, NCDC disclosed that ten states in Nigeria had 81 clinically confirmed cases, with three patients fully recovered; and one death recorded. During this time, Lagos State had the highest number of cases (52; 64%). By April 5th, the number of positive cases had increased to 232; death toll – five, and 33 persons had recovered. By October, 2020, 3,852 new cases were discovered, bringing the total number of cases since the outbreak in Nigeria to 62, 853, with the death toll raised to 1,144.
Despite the numbers rising, many Nigerians believed that the COVID-19 index cases in the country was a scam by various government bodies so as to inflate funds and grants for their states, and also enrich their pockets. This claim was further fueled when one of the governors in North Central of the country made a public mockery of the COVID-19 claims, declaring that it was 90% public funds embezzlement and 10% cold flu.
After the significant drop in the number of cases between the month of September and November 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria relaxed the lockdowns and re-opening of socio-economic activities that has been immensely affected so as to prevent the second phase of economic meltdown. This led to the ignoring of all social-distancing protocols; use of face-masks in public places that had been followed during the lockdown.
On December 9th, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the health Minister said that the second wave is imminent because of the rising number of cases; he added that the rise in cases was mostly driven by an increase in infections within communities and, to a lesser extent, travelers entering Nigeria.
On Thursday, December 10, 2020, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha said that the second wave of the pandemic has begun following the increase in the number of cases in the country; and as at Thursday, December 17th, 2020, Nigeria entered the second wave of the pandemic by recording its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases with 1,145 new infections as at that time.
January, 2021 took another twist in turn when Nigeria clocked the 100,000 cases milestone when 44,666 new cases were discovered alone; and also, the first case of the B.1.1.7, also known as 20I/501Y.V1, Variant of Concern 202012/01 or commonly as the UK variant or British variant was confirmed on the 25th of January. This increased the number of confirmed cases to 131,242; with death toll rising to 1,586.
Presently, the country is raising awareness in local communities and cities where individuals can get accurate information regarding COVID-19; so as to create a COVID-19 free enabling environment.