COVID-19 is as Real as the Sky is Blue!!!

By Uche Amunike

I was in Dubai during the yuletide where I spent my last holiday. That was where I witnessed firsthand, people close to me facing and indeed, accepting the reality of testing positive to the dreaded COVID-19 virus. I completely saw how much those test results humbled people, the moment they tested positive.

I saw the resignation, then the fight. The fight to survive the scourge and stay alive. I saw the need for the victims to educate people on the realness of the virus. My dear readers, kindly believe me when I say that the Coronavirus is no scam. It is real! We need to stay safe at all times.

I was with friends in Dubai who still haven’t returned to Nigeria because they tested positive and are still receiving treatment over there. I was just lucky. You can imagine my panic when it was confirmed that some of the people I attended parties with were affected. We were all at the same wedding and after wedding party together and we really mingled as guests that came from Nigeria.

We were all eventually hosted by a mutual friend that resides there in Dubai in his palatial home. Guess what? Our host caught the virus, alongside his Oyibo wife! These were people that threw a Christmas party in their home for some of us that came from Naija. I cringe when I remember that the moment we all got inside his house, we pulled off our face masks for our comfort while wining, dining and dancing.

Why am I stressing on all these? COVID-19 is no scam as most people, especially in the Southeast believe. Here in Anambra, I have tried educating some people about this menace and all they keep saying is that the entire Onitsha Main Market traders would have died of Covid if it were real, considering how congested it was.  When I hear people talk like that, it hurts me to the bone marrow. Ignorance is a terrible thing.

My appeal to everyone reading this is to try and adhere to the basic safety measures spelt out by the World Health Organization right from the first time this ugly disease reared its ugly head. What are these? Wash your hands regularly with soap and water; wear your facemask wherever you go; Maintain social distance when in a crowd; remember to use your hand sanitizer regularly; feed well to boost your immune system; These are really basic.

I do not see why our people down east find it difficult to adhere to them. May I also add that it is important to know some of the symptoms of this dreaded ailment. This will help any victim to submit themselves to be tested and then, commence treatment if they turn out positive.

What are these symptoms? They include, but are not limited to difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, fever, dry cough, aches and pains, loss of taste and smell, fatigue and headache.   However, even if an individual observes just a few of the above listed, they are advised to submit themselves to be tested. The earlier these symptoms are treated, the better it is for the patient.

Steam inhalation is also seriously advised. It’s a simple procedure that can be done within the confines of one’s home. It helps to ease irritation in the nasal passages. The moisture also helps to thin the mucus in your sinuses which allows them to empty more easily. Let me state clearly here that Steam Inhalation is not proven to treat the COVID-19 infection or bacteria/virus in the body.

It only helps to clear nasal blocks and decongests the chest. Once the water vapour  enters the nasal track,  it simply and directly dissolves the mucus, reducing inflammation and promoting better blood circulation in the respiratory tract. It’s a procedure that has been practised by our forebears. An age-long one! It doesn’t cure the Coronavirus!

I want to advise heads of organizations to take this second wave of the virus seriously. It is apparently more serious and deadlier than the first wave. Staff members should not be allowed to enter the premises without their face masks. Banks, churches and even schools should do the same.

This is a pandemic. It will globally change everything about a people and their ways of doing things. All we need do is conform to the new adjustments. Having to choose to stay safe by adhering to these safety measures is choosing to stay alive. We owe it to ourselves, our families and our country.

Here in Anambra, both the tests and treatments are free, unlike in most states. That is a good step in the right direction by the Governor and his team. I’ll have you know that there have been about 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 here in Anambra since the onset of the second wave of the virus about three weeks ago, a huge contrast from the figure recorded during the first wave.

People are hereby advised to show responsibility by   going for these tests and undergoing self-isolation if they find out that their results are positive. This will go a long way in curbing the menace!

Governor Willie Obiano recently addressed the state on the need to curb this anomaly and I’ll end this piece with excerpts of his speech.

‘Covid-19 is not just a health matter but, more importantly, a profound development challenge. It costs the authorities and individuals as well groups everywhere in the world a lot of financial resources to build testing centres and treatment centres and a lot of money to train the personnel to handle the situation.

In Anambra State we train not just doctors, pharmacists, lab scientists and nurses in the management of COVID-19 but also ward cleaners and ambulance drivers because they also have a vital role in the value chain. There have been lockdowns in different jurisdictions of the world which brought untold hardship to people and businesses as well as governments, thereby arresting the pace of development’.

Interestingly, the Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, has advised health professionals in the state to treat every case of malaria as COVID-19 until proved otherwise. This is because some people treated for malaria later turned out to be COVID-19 patients, in some cases discovered too late.

A key element in successful COVID-19 case management is early detection which results in early treatment. What more can I say? Whatever you do, please remember that COVID-19 is not a scam like people claim. It is as real as roses are read and the sky is blue! A word is enough for the wise!!!

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