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Ripples across the Nation as Nigeria Records its First COVID-19 Death

As early as when the world started reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria initially seemed immune to the confusion as it took a while to record its first case. Then as soon as the index and second cases were recorded, it seemed like the number of cases suddenly developed wings and started rising geometrically.

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Meanwhile, as of the morning of Monday, March 23, the news of the death of a Coronavirus patient finally ended earlier insinuations that Nigerians and/or black people are immune to the virus.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced the death of the first COVID-19 fatality. The agency revealed that the deceased previously had underlying health conditions which comprised multiple myeloma, diabetes while also undergoing chemotherapy which all evidently worsened the probability of survival by the victim.

Some other news media revealed the identity of the first COVID-19 death to be Suleiman Achimugu, a 67-year-old former Managing Director of Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).

He was reported to have just returned back home to Nigeria after receiving medical treatment in the UK. He was also reported to have observed self-isolation on his return home but his underlying health conditions never stood him a chance at survival.

The news of the first recorded death in Nigeria came on the heels of the parallel announcement by the NCDC of 3 additional cases which now makes the total in Nigeria as of Monday 35 cases.

The mystique and shroud around the identity of the COVID-19 cases was, however, temporarily quashed yesterday when former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar declared that one of his sons, Moh Atiku, has tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus. This news seems to have finally hushed the conspiracy theory going around in some local circles that the virus is unreal and a ruse concocted by the government to embezzle money.  

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As President Buhari keeps stalling and failing to take decisive steps about the way forward for the country, Atiku coming out to announce his son being tested positive appears to have greatly de-stigmatized the disease. More people who may have been feeling the COVID-19 symptoms of dry cough, shortness of breath may now also be more encouraged to come forward for testing and reduce organic spread.

While it is more intriguing to some Nigerians that government response is too slow in curtailing the spread of the disease, it is not surprising that some Nigerians have also grown immune to believing information by their government on the needed urgency to tackling the Coronavirus pandemic.

Aside the NCDC, the government at the Federal level is doing almost nothing to educate the 200 million rich populace about the need for preventive and control measures such as social distancing, enforcing a nationwide lockdown and instituting travel ban & quarantine regulations for international travellers.

In the end, just as the first announced death has woken up a large quarter of the slumbering Nigerian populace to the reality that we are currently facing, it Is equally imperative for the government to take control of the narrative to save more Nigerians from needless deaths or we may risk a repeat of the severe blow which the 1918 Spanish Flu dealt us in Nigeria.


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Macaddy Gad

Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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