Nurse Qazeem Bello is a Surgical and Endoscopy Specialist. He works as a perioperative nurse with the Nursing Department at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, Lagos. The Osun State Registered Perioperative Nurse is currently a Scrub nurse for M&N with COVID-19 team. He is the first perioperative nurse that delivered the first COVID-19 patient through caesarean section at LUTH.
In this interview with Wilson Adekumola, he shed light on what is peculiar about the second wave of COVID-19. Excerpts;
There is a lot of misinformation and distortions about the second wave of COVID-19, can you enlighten our readers on what is peculiar about the second wave?
The second wave of COVID-19 is the surge in the number of cases after the initial decline witnessed between October and early December 2020. The second wave started in the mid-December and it is very critical and more severe than the first wave.
What is peculiar about the second wave of COVID-19 is that we are in a potentially difficult phase of the virus resurgence. There is a rise in case, also the variance of the newly mutated form of the COVID-19 detected is spreading faster, more easily transmitted and deadlier.
We are on the verge of the second wave of the pandemic. In the first wave, there were many asymptomatic cases, unlike this second wave where the majority are having serious symptoms within hours or a few days of being infected. There are also reports of new symptoms like hiccups which were not reported during the first wave. It is being speculated that a new strain of the virus is involved in this new wave in Nigeria.
How does curfew help to reduce the spread?
Curfew is being put in place across the country to help slow the spread of the virus. Coronavirus is not a vampire that only comes out at night; it can spread all hours of the day but a curfew is imposed in hope of flattening the curve of transmission. The rise in cases was mostly driven by an increase in infections within the community and to a lesser extent by travellers entering our country.
It is just to reduce the influx of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals to the environment. In the actual sense of it, curfew would have worked if everyone stays indoors without socializing with people for that period of time. Unfortunately, the way people take curfew in this part of the world cannot solve any problem, and this is because many inner streets are occupied by people playing balls in the name of curfew.
It is only the major roads that are deserted. We still have reports of people who were arrested in the night clubs. So, I will say curfew has not helped and will not help us in Nigeria unless we cooperate with the government in the fight against this killer virus.
Why is the government concerned about organized environments like churches with less concern for those in the market and other public places?
The major reason government is more concerned about organised public places where people gather in hundreds or thousands is not farfetched. It is due to the nature of the spread of the infection, which is by droplet and to some extent by contact, coronavirus travels up to one metre even more from an infected host when coughing, sneezing or talking.
In places like churches, people cluster together and usually, no physical distancing is maintained. Therefore, the rate of transmission among people is extremely high. It is therefore imperative to be more concerned about these groups of people. Measures like reduction in the number of congregations in church or mosque, physical distancing in the sitting arrangement, compulsory use of face mask, avoiding handshake, hand hygiene facilities will greatly help to curb the spread.
The government should be more concerned about worship centres than the crowd in the market and public places because more hours are spent in the churches and most of them don’t really observe the COVID-19 protocols. Most of the churches are crowded and some don’t even believe that COVID-19 exists. Some still carry out their routine activities still spending the number of hours as usual. Some wear their mask below chin though this is observed all over the country. Some still worship in an enclosed room with full air-conditioner on. Some worship centres are not well ventilated and we know COVID-19 is droplet infection. But most of the markets operate under an open heaven.
Why is it that COVID-19 is more prevalent among the affluent, is there a particular lifestyle that promotes it?
I want to say coronavirus is no respecter of anyone. It affects everyone irrespective of your social status or class, many people died from COVID-19 daily at home without being reported or publicized, few people being shown on TVs or mentioned in the news are usually the affluent and notable people, that is why it seems they are more affected, but I disagree with this. It is just a misconception.
On the other hand, COVID-19 could be more prevalent among the affluent because many are not adhering to safety protocols, still, organize programmes that bring them together, social engagement still on. Most that can stay at home are still holding face to face meetings with others. A particular lifestyle that promotes this, is being with friends and being taken off guard.
We are being told the second wave is more severe and deadlier than the first one; can you shed light on this?
Yes, the second wave is deadlier than the first because the death toll had risen and there are more casualties with grave symptoms. Many are treating Malaria instead of going to the hospital for COVID-19 test and most of the people that have died from the disease went to the Hospital late for proper diagnosis and prompt treatment. Many are symptomatic carriers and are busy infecting innocent citizens. Partying inside a home with less ventilation, not observing social distancing because they are closely related.
There was a report that some travellers connived with health care workers to obtain a fake result for COVID-19, how will you react to this?
Why would a health worker do that? Health workers should ensure that citizens are catered for, dispel myths surrounding COVID-19 and enlighten people on the best way to prevent and manage this current pandemic ravaging the world. When I heard, I was lost in thought, thinking about how corruption has affected our sense of reasoning. Those involved should be disengaged and prosecuted without further delay. What they did will skyrocket the spread of the infection as there will be many unreported positive cases.
If this act is not looked into and discouraged in its totality it means we are not safe. We are sitting on a keg of gun powder waiting for explosion. We are not aiding the effort of the government to fight this deadly virus. Who knows what will happen? I think the health workers should ensure that whoever comes for a test should be tested before they are given the certificate. We need to be truthful to our conscience. We are putting other people at risk. Let us think twice, COVID-19 is deadly but we can all work together to put an end to this scourge before it ravages the country beyond repair.