COVID-19: 3rd wave hits harder as Nigeria records highest daily infection in six months

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The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage Nigeria as the country on Wednesday recorded four new deaths and 747 cases, ranking the highest daily infection figure in more than six months.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the new infection figure has raised Nigeria’s total infection number to 176,011 while the fatality toll now stands at 2,167.

The latest surge in infections and the fatality rate are of concern to health experts and government officials who appeal to Nigerians not to allow fatigue to set in.

With active cases in Nigeria jumping to 8,626 as of Wednesday, hospitals across the country will further be put under severe pressure as the ongoing nationwide strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, lingers.

The doctors’ strike entered its fourth day Thursday with its biting consequences taking a toll on Nigerians.

The latest surge in both deaths and infections as well as the ongoing doctors’ strike are of particular concern to health experts and government officials, who plead with Nigerians to observe all necessary non-pharmaceutical protocols.

The commissioner for information and strategy in Lagos State, Gbenga Omotosho, in an exclusive telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, appealed to residents of the state, in particular, to be cautious in their conduct.

Infection breakdown

According to the NCDC, Wednesday’s statistics was a total of what was reported across 13 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

A breakdown of the NCDC data revealed that about a third of the daily infections in Nigeria on Wednesday was recorded in Lagos.

The city, as the disease’ epicentre, reported 488 cases while Akwa Ibom followed with 121 cases and Oyo State ranked third with 29 cases.

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Rivers, another South-southern Nigerian state, recorded 25 cases on Wednesday to rank fourth while Ogun State in the South-west reported 15 new cases.

The FCT and Kaduna reported 13 Infections each, while Kwara recorded 11, even as Ekiti and Osun States registered 10 cases each.

Edo State reported six while Abia confirmed three cases. Anambra recorded two while Plateau State came last on the log with one infection.

Meanwhile, according to the NCDC data, of the over 176,000 total cases, 165,208 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals across the country.

The centre added that Nigeria has tested over 2.5 million samples out of its estimated 200 million population.

Lagos warns

According to Mr Omotosho, the city, which is Nigeria’s coronavirus epicentre, is under intense pressure over the new wave of the infections, and that “the people cannot afford to give in at this time.”

The commissioner said the state is working hard to guard against the rising cases. He, however, noted that nothing much could be achieved when people don’t take responsibility.

He said apart from the pressure on the state’s finances, the increasing fatality is avoidable if people cooperate with the government by observing the required protocols.

“We understand people can be tired. Everyone is. But we cannot afford to give in. We must fight it the same way we fought the first two rounds. Escalation of the current wave will not be in anybody’s interest. So we must take responsibility for our actions.

“The new variant has shown that many people who are infected showed no signs, but in hours, they are down with serious difficulties. It comes with a lot of drama, and it is a serious thing,” he said.

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