Covik One-Nine #Stories4Health

You were probably making plans for this year when it happened. Going about your daily tasks with great anticipation of the good tidings the new year was going to bring. You were finally going to start working out, start taking your job seriously, stop procrastinating and learn how to fly around while saving the innocent people from harm like Superman does. This was your moment. Finally a chance to get your act together, right? WRONG. You forgot a very important detail. A very minute one though. Who could blame you? What you failed to realize was that an Asian dude happened to get hungry at the same time as you were writing down your resolutions. So what did he do? He got himself some sumptuous bat soup. A meal better forgotten because it eventually led to a series of catastrophic events including the death of a large number of people, a global recession and Liverpool Football Club missing their chance to win the English Premier League for the first time in a really long time. Where’s Superman when you need him, eh?

Or maybe this bat story is just nuts but hear me out.

Unless, you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve definitely heard about the coronavirus disease ravaging the world. The disease (fondly referred to by my beloved President Muhammadu Buhari as “Covik One Nine”) is an infectious respiratory disease whose symptoms include cough, loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath. Seeing it’s effect on the world is literally enough to take your breath away if we’re really being honest.

On 30th of December, 2019, an ophthalmologist named Li Wenliang who worked at the Central Hospital in Wuhan, China sent a warning to his medical school classmates on a private WeChat group about a patient’s report he saw earlier. He informed them that some cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have been confirmed at his hospital from the local seafood market and advised them to take protective measures. Long story short, the post went viral followed by a strong reprimand by Chinese authorities and the supervision of his hospital who blamed him for spreading false information. Eventually, Dr. Li contracted the virus and died. He was right.

Quickly spreading around the world like wildfire, it wasted no time in making it’s way to my home country, Nigeria, in the body of an Italian (these damned Italians!) and the rest is history. The beginning of the end. (Well, maybe not the end but my histrionics aren’t supposed to be the concern in the middle of a pandemic. Be focused.)

My daily routine often involves taking pictures of the sunrise in the ancient city of Ibadan for my photography page (pretending to also be a descendant Oduduwa). A city I am technically stuck in due to lockdown restrictions on basically every sphere of life including transportation. A city dotted with brown zinc roofs and populated with people who would rather not starve to death indoors, making it harder to obey the lockdown orders. There are probably one too many cities also filled with people who share their sentiments and that is understandable. For a country where most people live in extreme poverty, I find it hard to believe that we’ve survived until now without descending into complete anarchy but here we are, kicking coronavirus’ butt and surviving in true african fashion. 

A number of interesting events have been happening both here and around the world. US President Trump has criticised the World Health Organization’s response to the “China virus” and the US government has paused funding for the UN organization. The global economy has plunged into a recession and the decrease in demand for oil sent the prices of oil futures contracts crashing to negative figures as traders started paying buyers to take the product before they ran out of storage.

Here at home, there have been reports of increased crime due to the lockdown orders. Robberies and plunderings, amongst others. Recently, a judge sentenced a driver to death by hanging for murdering his boss’ mother. The hearing took place virtually through the video conferencing app, Zoom, and was attended by lawyers and the attorney general. Well, I guess modern problems require modern solutions.

Going forward, the problem of misappropriation of resources still stares us right in the face as we find ourselves begging Elon Musk for ventilators on Twitter while lawmakers are getting brand new vehicles and approving loans in order to finance our deficient budget and salvage what is left of our oil-dependent economy. An absurd travesty in my opinion. Also, much to the chagrin of the ruling elite, they can no longer jet out of the country for medical tourism. So everyone’s gonna have to share the infrastructure we have presently regardless of class. It’s almost like that Kendrick Lamar and Drake song because, “that sounds like poetic justice”.

Even as the the future looks a bit bleak, the African spirit is one of resilience and as such, we can be rest assured that we’ll get through this and make it look effortless too. But, before the rest of the world whips out their notepads to learn how we did it, we have to make sure the spread of the virus is mitigated by doing what we’re supposed to. That involves you and I practicing social distancing, washing our hands regularly and yada yada yada. You’ve heard it all before. If we want the curve flattened and the spread of the virus mitigated, we have to actually put the information contained in the safety guidelines to good use this time.

It seems like a number of lifetimes has passed since early March when the index case was announced here and the World Health Organization just classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. The boredom and the hunger are very real out here but what’s even realer is our invisible enemy. Will the coronavirus disease be the death of us or will we stop it’s spread? Only one way to find out. Stay safe and stay tuned.


Written by Pablo

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Covid-19 or a New Strain of Malaria? #Stories4Health