A common enemy that is threatening human survival
I have finally figured out the ripostes to the questions enveloping the atmosphere. The aged ones are terrified, the youths are petrified, and the young ones are horrified. It came hastily, progressed from a cradle of worriment to sources of unbiased demise of people. We are now in a season when every second is accompanied by two thoughts: either we win this war or we lose our lives in the process.
COVID-19 brought the entire world to a cessation, so much that the economic, social, and legal order of human existence was altered. Beyond that, COVID-19 launched us into a war-like situation where all human entities have transited into soldiers militating against a common enemy that is threatening human survival. In fact, a new feature of using a nose mask has been added to any formal dress or traditional wear. Sporadic and intermittent washing of hands has become a culture. Interestingly, the brain has even configured its settings that alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be applied on the hands as frequently as possible.
Deepening the sore of the wound caused by the deadly virus, the death toll being experienced now is second to none in recent months. While efforts are being geared towards putting an end to the war, the second wave of the coronavirus could not be evaded due to some underlying factors. This has however left us with a conundrum to rejoinder on the plausible steps to take for the development of homegrown solutions needed in this situation.
The prediction of a second wave war
According to James Gallagher, amongst many other medical practitioners, a second wave was predicted some months ago. The audacity with which many health tycoons presaged the possibility, without doubt, makes it look like the war we are in, just began. Although in June 2020 when there was an observed decline in the new number of confirmed cases, a professor of epidemiology and director of Center for infection and immunity at Columbia University, Ian Lipkin opined that a time will come when the virus would massively return or new strains of the virus will colossally develop.
As lockdowns were eased across all countries, months after months, the last quarter of the year 2020 experienced a sudden upsurge in the number of new cases of the deadly coronavirus. This trend gave rise to an average of 22,000 confirmed new cases per day in December among the Africa nations, surpassing the peak rate of 18,000 during the first wave. Sadly, in the continent, nearly half of the total cases are the ones recorded from October till now. When we thought the second quarter of last year will be the peak of it, the gear has been changed, and the war is still much ongoing.
Reasons for the second wave
Judging from the outcome, the early unmonitored green light on easing the restriction of movement was dangerous. If we had phenomenally learnt from the Spanish flu that escalated in 1918, wiping millions of people from the face of the earth, the people vested with authority would not have been ‘careless’ in lifting too soon, the restriction on movement without adequate measures to prevent a second wave from emanating.
To be candid, the perfect explanation to the situation of things can be concisely explained by a message on a building in the Chilean capital Santiago – ‘No volveremos a la normalidad, porque’ la normalidad era el problema.’ In English, it reads, “we won’t get back to normal because normal was the problem.” Many people were too adamant and resolute that the government should make things return back to normal, and in the call for that, they neglected the consequences of rushing without the acumen required to fight the war against a deadly virus. Without any iota of doubt, we are already in the new ‘normal,’ and patience is all that is required for us to fight this war well, and end it soon.
Also, the disparity in the responses of various individuals, organizations, and nations to the pandemic, affected the collective strategy needed to end the war against COVID-19 early. While some have been following COVID-19 precautions, some observed for a few months and then regressed, and others, erroneously believe that the source of the death of millions of people is a mirage. So sad! No wonder the Holy bible stated in Hosea 4:1, ‘My people perish because of lack of wisdom.’
Furthermore, the decline in the compliance of the masses in using nose-mask can be attributed to the spike in the COVID-19 cases being recorded. Based on the research led by scientists at Britain’s Cambridge and Greenwich Universities, they educated the populace that lockdowns alone will not stop the renaissance of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but also, adoption of consistent nose mask-wearing. Even the homemade masks can intensely reduce transmission rates if everyone in the battleground wears them perpetually.
In addition, in some cities, towns, and communities, while only few or no public places are shutdown or practicing social distancing, others are operating normally as if a virus that is airborne does not exist. While some government and community leaders have taken the right path to mandate mask-wearing and physical distancing in public areas, some opined that is a matter of personal choice. We cannot be fighting a common enemy with complete dissimilarities in ideology, war stratagems, or methodologies. It is utterly wrong!
Strategies needed to do to put an end to the war
Learning from what my father usually iterate to me when I was young, “the wise man foresees the struggle ahead and creates defense mechanism for them: the blockhead goes blindly on and suffers the repercussion.” Just like I will not want the world to encounter the third wave of war, I will like to suggest the following solutions to be employed by various leaders in order to win the battle against coronavirus in due time.
First, everyone needs to take responsibility. We are the architect of our own life, and the actions we take determine to a large extent, the chances of surviving the war we have found ourselves. As much as possible, every soldier in the battle must be intentional about taking preventive measures such as strict adherence to social distancing, self-quarantine, frequent hand-washing, consistent mask-wearing, and good personal hygiene. The transmission of the virus was easily reawakened when people increased their activities and contact among people amplified. Regrettably, the permutation of reopening of activities without strict enforcement of preventive measures, and people ignoring their responsibilities in the war, triggered the number of coronavirus infections to rise again.
Furthermore, compulsory conduction of COVID-19 test before a traveler or tourist is allowed to set for a new location is another vital strategy to enforce. This should be done to ensure that no one unknowingly infects hundreds or thousands of people, and as a result, prolong the time to end the war. Few weeks ago, Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 made a statement that, “With effect from 1st January 2021, the passports of the first 100 passengers that failed to take their post-arrival PCR test will be circulated for people to see in the national dailies.” This means that lots of people are still boycotting the COVID-19 test before traveling and thereby putting the lives of others at risk. All these must stop as we are working tirelessly towards permanently curtailing the spread of the deadly virus.
Most importantly, the health care sector should be rigorously strengthened. The development of medically tested and approved vaccines needs to get circulated without delay. Data from patients who were vaccinated with the first half dose and a second full booster dose revealed fewer asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2, signifying waned transmission. As we all know, the health specialists are the ones taking the lead in the battlefield we are in, and as much as possible, the health sector should be given maximum attention.
In conclusion, the second wave of COVID-19 rang a bell of warning that drastic steps are needed in the face of critical problems. By recognizing that the virus will be with us for a considerable time, governments should use this opportunity to invest enormously in health systems, and enforce the solutions above for the war we are in to end soon. Even though we are desirous of a return to normality, preventing COVID-19 transmission is contingent on public compliance as well as full cooperation of private bodies and individuals to defeat the common enemy. Hence, the optimism of ending the war soon is unshakable.
REFERENCES James Gallagher(2020), “What is second wave and is it coming?” Retrieved on January 12, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53113785  Cory Stieg (2020), “What a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 could look like and how to prevent it.” Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/28/what-second-wave-of-covid-19-means-and-how-to-prevent-it.html  African Center for Strategic Studies(2021), “Analyzing Africa’s Second Wave of COVID-19.” Retrieved on January 13, 2021, from https://reliefweb.int/report/world/analyzing-africa-s-second-wave-covid-19  Retrieved from https://www.odi.org/blogs/16815-covid-19-we-won-t-get-back-normal-because-normal-was-problem  Kate Kelland (2020), “Widespread mask-wearing could prevent COVID-19 second waves: study.” Retrieved on January 13, 2021, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-masks-study/widespread-mask-wearing-could-prevent-covid-19-second-waves-study-idUSKBN23G37V  Andulu Agency “Nigeria to suspend passports of those who shun virus tests.” Retrieved on January 13, 2021, from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigeria-to-suspend-passports-of-those-who-shun-virus-tests/2092896  The Lancet Microbe (2021), “COVID-19 vacinnes: the pandemic will not end overnight.” Retrieved on January 13, 2021, from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(20)30226-3/fulltext
Folarin Oluwatimilehin, a student of the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ibadan wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org