I stood at the shop waiting for my turn to make a purchase. After bringing all the things I needed, I calculated and gave him the money. While I waited for my balance, Oga stood there picking his nose. Seriously, in this day of Corona (Rona). The truth is that Nigerians don’t practice hygiene, we really don’t. Someone will come back for the day and without washing his or hands dive to eating. One would come back from the market and without hesitation start eating the moi moi, agidi with his or her hands without washing them first. Children would come back from school and without washing their hands would start eating. Hygiene is one of those things Nigerians think doesn’t count. And in this period of coronaviruss, it’s the only thing that can save us.
We Nigerians cannot trust the government to protect us because it can’t. Imagine that a country of millions of people has only two testing centres for coronavirus. Facilities are not available so trust me that the people governing us ain’t prepared. State governments are shutting down schools without making adequate preparations. Do you know that in these countries that banned public gatherings, people work from home, students do their school work online? This is not the case with Nigeria. Moreover, people especially in the rural areas do not have information concerning the virus: its symptoms, how it spreads and what to do to recover. While most youths can access the internet, there is a lot of us who cannot. Thus, the lack of information is not encouraging. No sensitization has been held for those in the rural areas, all the government is doing is to ban gatherings and close schools.
Below are the basic things you should know about Rona.
According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
These viruses were originally transmitted from animals to people. SARS, for instance, was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS moved to humans from a type of camel.
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and since named SARS-CoV-2, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
What are the symptoms?
According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death.
Current estimates of the incubation period – the time between infection and the onset of symptoms – range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days.
However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems.
How deadly is it?
With more than 7,800 recorded deaths, the number of fatalities from this new coronavirus has surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which also originated in China.
SARS killed about 9 percent of those it infected – nearly 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of those infected.
While the new coronavirus is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at approximately 3.4 percent, according to the WHO.(Aljazerra)
How can you protect yourself from getting this virus?
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
World Health Organisation (WHO)
So while we lament the inadequacies of our government, let us do our part to protect ourselves. Eat healthier foods so that your immune system will be strong. Visit the hospital if you get any of the symptoms. Most importantly practice good hygiene, wash your hands always and if you can afford it use hand sanitizers. Avoid touching railings of staircases. It’s better safe than sorry. Be careful Rona is here with us.