Nigeria’s GDP per capita income is $1,968 according to the IMF. In comparison, South Korea’s GDP per capita income is $29,742.84. The United States GDP per capita income is $59,531. Italy GDP per capita income is $31, 952.
What does all of this have to with the COVID-19 Virus?
The Pandemic is coming with a high rate of mortality, heavy strains on the world’s healthcare and economy, with the US passing $2 trillion in direct payment, small business bailouts.
This is the first time the world is fighting a common enemy at the same time.
Different methods to tackle this and have been grouped into Flatten the Curve leading to Herd Immunity and Eradication strategies.
Flattening the curve refers to community isolation measures that keep the daily number of disease cases at a manageable level for medical personnel. It is not designed to stop the transmission.
Rather, it aims to slow it to a manageable level
According to Professor Blakely, who I agree with, “What they’re not saying is [that] ‘flatten the curve’ likely means [that] by the time this is over, 60 percent of us will have been infected, to develop herd immunity,”.
This type of herd immunity is the only way to ensure there is no resurgence of the virus once physical distancing and shutdown restrictions are lifted, and borders are re-opened.
So Flattening the curve on its way to herd immunity is proven to be the best way to control the pandemic at least until the >18months before the Vaccines are out (If a vaccine ever comes out).
Eradication: As practiced in New Zealand, is an extreme version of flattening the curve, where a total lockdown is enforced and no interaction is allowed until all Cases are isolated and eradicated. The strategy requires the borders to stay closed or be strictly controlled until a vaccine arrives, which could be 12 to 18 months away.
Government leaders may face an acutely painful “Sophie’s choice”: mitigating the resurgent risk to lives versus the risk to the population’s health that could follow another sharp economic pullbackMckinsey.
What should Nigeria do?
There are no easy decisions. This is a Once in a lifetime pandemic and it’s understandable that the first action is a Lockdown while we reassess, and then make informed decisions going forward.
COVID-19 in Nigeria will affect the Nation’s healthcare system, the Nation’s economy and it’s all but certain that we will suffer a recession.
First, Nigeria shouldn’t have a lockdown like first-world countries like Italy, the US. Our economy isn’t strong enough to cope with the Wuhan-like 76days lockdown. Plus even if Nigeria succeeds in doing that, Nigeria will have to maintain the borders stay closed with “no end in sight”.
Why should we act differently? Read on.
Life expectancy in Italy is 84years while in Nigeria, it’s 53years.
94% of the COVID-19 deaths in Italy are in patients aged 60 and above.
90% of the deaths in the US are 55 and above. (100M with Diabetes)
Nigeria has a population of 200M people, with an average age of 19years old. However, 14M of those 200M are aged 55 and above.
The chance of COVID-19 in Nigeria mortality as a <55year old is 6% of 3% as seen in the general population of infected.
**Can we create a system to allow those aged 59 and below get to work?**
Nigeria shouldn’t make her decision based on the general world convention because we have a peculiar economy and age distribution.
The version of the lockdown should be peculiar to Nigeria, Africa.
Some of the elements of the lockdown should include.
– Enforce Healthy habits, no going out without facemasks, enforce social distancing, encourage continuous hand washing to limit the spread.
– Strategically reopen the Economy, to curtail the suffering of the Economy and people dying of Hunger. 90M people already living in poverty.
– Build industries/incentivize conversion of cottage enterprises to produce facemasks, sanitizers, etc for local use and export, which could give Nigeria the much-needed forex, springboard the economy.
– Build hospitals massively, with world-class equipment (GTB/Lagos did this in 5days) and train doctors plus healthcare assistants en masse.
Watch out for part 2 of COVID-19 in Nigeria, in two weeks.