The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, has said that COVID-19 second wave was ravaging Nigeria and claiming many lives. Bode, who spoke at a news conference in Lagos, yesterday, also revealed that a mutated strain of coronavirus was responsible for the increased number of deaths arising from COVID- 19-related complications in the country.
This came as he appealed to Nigerians to stay away from all social engagements, church and mosque gatherings, in order to save themselves from contracting the virus, which, he maintained, has become more deadly.
New Telegraph recalls that the Federal Government had maintained that there was no new variant of the virus in the country, despite pleas from different quarters calling for a ban on flights from countries with record of the mutated virus.
The CMD appealed to Nigerians to take the virus more seriously, desist from home treatment and ensure early presentation at treatment facilities to save themselves from a preventable death.
Bode, who said the new strain was more ferocious than the first strain, lamented that majority of the deaths being recorded in the second wave would not have occurred if the deceased had presented themselves early enough. He said: “The resurgence of COVID-19 through the newly mutated form is ravaging our land, claiming many lives.
“Unlike what we witnessed in the first wave, this one is even more easily transmitted and deadlier too. It is therefore imperative for everyone first and foremost accept that COVID- 19 is not over and we must prepare to confront it all over again.
“We have seen an upsurge in the number of people who keep treating ‘malaria’ instead of going for the COVID test. Many such then start using all sorts of steam inhalation and home remedies for their cough and chest congestion.
It is not helpful to do this, especially if you are also diabetic, hypertensive or with a number of other health baggage or above the age of 60. “It may be rather late by the time you are breathless and are rushed to the hospital. Most of those dying delayed going to the hospital till very late.”
The CMD further raised concerns over the attitude of Nigerians towards the virus and called for strict adherence to the nonpharmaceutical protocols, urging Nigerians to stay off unnecessary and large gatherings.
“What we see on the streets, worship centres and social interactions, parties and daily activities call for concern. “In a period when the ‘enemy’ has doubled back and is attacking us ferociously, we seem to be celebrating a false victory and denying the danger is still around us.
“We need to observe all the basic rules we have been following all along and wake up to the present reality. “Shelve all forms of social engagements for now: no parties, no churches, mosques, meetings, faaji etc. Tell yourself it is better to stay alive.
“Wash your hands frequently and before you touch the face, eyes and mouth. Wear face mask obligatorily most important, maintain a social distance of at least six feats away from others where you must be with anyone.
Insist others wear their face masks at work and everywhere you are. “Do not hold face-to-face meetings with others, go virtual for now. If you must, go outside and hold such meetings, socially distancing, in an open, well-ventilated space, with windows open, not in a closed space with air conditioners. “If you love your aged relations, insist on these tenets for now. Do not go visiting them until the pandemic goes away.
Let every family member know these facts and discuss them openly. “Remember, let us do the work of staying safe before we pray that God should help us. Prayers alone, without work, is futile.
Please stay safe,” he said. On his part, Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, said everyone thought the pandemic was over. Adeyemo said that there were periods in November that the hospital had zero admittance in its wards. “We planned to move to a smaller place, which we actually did, but had to come back to our 120-bed facilities; we never shut down the centre.
“We did not only witnessed increased numbers, but the severity also increased. Before now, we are not talking about vaccine, but about myths that COVID-19 was not real,” he said. Adeyemo appealed to the media to enlighten the public, in terms of conspiracy theory, noting that it was important we all keep to the rules and help each other. Also, Dr. Iorhen Akase, Head, Infectious Disease Unit, said that the hospital observed increased mild cases in the first wave, pointing out that the second wave was severe.
Akase said most of the cases in the first wave occurred in elderly and morbidity, but the second wave had cases among 20 years old patients. He said that as long as the new infections kept coming, a time would reach when hospitals could no longer admit any patient. In her remarks, Mrs. Esther Imafidon, Head, Nursing Theatre Services, reiterated that the media should enlighten the public about the second wave of COVID-19.