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CORONAVIRUS: Young Nigerians driving spread, older bearing brunt – NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that young people, aged between 20 and 40 are driving the transmission of the COVID- 19 in the country. Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja, yesterday. Ihekweazu said that investigation had established that persons from 50 years and above were most prone to the virus, with three out of five deaths from the pandemic usually within that age bracket.

The DG said that as more people were infected across the world, it was increasingly obvious that transmission among younger people aged between 20 and 40 driving the spread of the virus. He said: “As more people are infected across the world, we have seen the numbers, 10 million, it’s increasingly obvious that transmission among younger people really, not children, people between ages 20 and 40, as far as we know, are really driving the spread of this virus “But those that are bearing the brunt of it are people age 50 and above.

Three out of five people who died of COVID-19 are 50 and above. So we have to work harder all of us collectively to protect our elderly.” He also clarified that the centre has not relaxed its guidelines on mass gathering in the coronavirus protocol.

Ihekweazu said: “We are on the verge of opening our airports and we have relaxed intercity travel. “We know that we have family, loving people and that over the next few weeks, we will all start having this urge to go and visit our parents, our uncles and our aunts.

“We may also restart the funeral activities that we have postponed for months, start the weddings, wine carryings, birthing baptisms that we have postponed for months. “Yes, it’s important to do these things and the interstate travel will allow us to do this, but remember we haven’t relaxed the guidelines of mass gatherings,” he said. He urged Nigerians to take precautions to protect their older relatives by wearing face masks, practicing hand/respiratory hygiene, and maintaining a physical distance of two metres from each other.

“Beyond that, Nigerians have to show their elderly citizens love and affection by not exposing them to the virus as much as they possibly could. “For some people, the exposure is inevitable because of the nature of this virus, but we mustn’t contribute to increasing the risk.

“Looking through social media today, I saw a brilliant campaign in Edo State, titled ‘our elders our pride’. “For this to mean something for all of us, we have to put this into action,” he said. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of PTF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, has appealed to all health workers and authorities of healthcare facilities to help reduce avoidable fatalities occurring from the noncoronavirus- related conditions, by attending to all patients while still observing the COVID-19 protocols. Mustapha said that the PTF has continued to receive reports of medical institutions refusing to receive patients over fear of COVID-19.

The SGF said the attack on the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State, left the PTF distressed. “The PTF has received with great concern, reports about the attack on the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State, by some hoodlums. “The PTF is particularly distressed and regrets the trauma to which medical workers, patients and others who went on their legitimate businesses were subjected. “I wish to assure you that security agencies have been tasked with the responsibility for fishing out the criminal elements behind it and they will be brought to justice.

“We thank law abiding Nigerians for reporting the occurrence promptly,” he said. The PTF chairman said that the nation was in the early days of the extension of second phase of eased lockdown and urged Nigerians to always remind themselves of the reason for these uncommon times facing humanity.

“This is the time to comply with the guidelines, it is the time to be vigilant and to take responsibility. “It is for this reason that I shall repeat my admonition of Monday, June 29, 2020, that there is presently no known vaccine for the virus and that all over the world, non-pharmaceutical measures still remain the most effective fighting opportunity we have for overcoming this pandemic,” he said. On the continued rise in number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the SGF said such was expected considering increase in number of people tested.

He, however, warned that the ease of lockdown should not be mistaken for the end of the war against the scourge. He said: “One significant observation the PTF wishes to make is that new rise in cases are to be expected as nations start to ease restrictions. We shall however proceed with caution and we shall not hesitate to change course when the need arises. What this means is that Nigerians should never mistake the relaxation by government as a signal that the COVID-19 battle had been concluded.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that research had shown that active ingredients in the Madagascar herb for the treatment of COVID-19 are grown in the country. The minister said “Artenecial-Annual,’ which is one component in malaria treatment medicine, is in Nigeria. It is a combination therapy, which is used for malaria. “So, some years ago the government had actually imported this plant and have a plantation of it which was trying to develop the production of its own A.C.T. The process has not gone that much for now. We are looking to see what had held it up. The plant is here. It was intended to be used for producing antimalaria drugs. And the type we have here has a very high create to yield of artenecine which is a very active ingredient. The specie we have here had been tested and has a very high concentration of artenecine,” he said.

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