Covid-19 Fatalities And Nigerians’ Fatalistic Non-Compliance

By Mark Adebayo

“The major threats to our survival no longer stem from nature without but from our own human nature within. It is our carelessness, our hostilities, our selfishness and pride and willful ignorance that endanger the world.”

–  M. Scott Peck


THE headline was scary! Drew sweats that cascaded down the spine. It was the type that communicated red alert. A siren that breaks the serenity of the mind and soul. A beckon to draw away from implacable danger; to apply the breaks and and execute a detour from the direction of destruction. 

Last year, Covid-19 that originated from Wuhan in China hit the world like a mass hurricane taking out large populations all over the world. Italy and the USA were worse battered. At the last count, 36 million Americans have been infected by the deadly virus with 617,000 deaths! Italy has lost 128,163 citizens to Covid-19 and at a point, December 3rd 2020, lost 993 patients in one day! India has Thirty-two million, Seventy-Seven thousand seven hundred and six (32,077,706) confirmed Covid-19 cases and 429,669 deaths recorded.

All these fatalities occurred in countries with far better medicare and medical facilities than Nigeria. They have committed health professionals to whom saving of lives is a priority responsibility unlike Nigeria with no deliberate government health policy, bedeviled by terrible health infrastructures and health workers who don’t care whether you live or die. Nigeria’s health workers – Doctors and Nurses – while home, are among the most intemperate and callous in the world especially those in government hospitals. It is only abroad that their humanity manifests and they are highly sought after. But back home, their humanity is taken over by animalistic instincts. If you want to be simplistic about it, you may blame such attitudes on bad remunerations and lack of motivation by government. Well, that’s the same excuse that the police and other security agents advance for maltreating Nigerians anyhow via extrajudicial, summary executions, illegal detentions, barefaced robberies and extortions. The ENDSARS protest did nothing to mitigate such police brutalities. If anything, it has further exacerbated everything. The question is why take their frustrations out on regular Nigerians who suffer the same fate as theirs? Resign and quit rather than punish other Nigerians for your frustrations.

However, despite Nigeria’s dilapidated health infrastructures and demotivated medical workforce, fortune smiled on us as we managed, by some divine intervention, to escape what would have amounted to a catastrophic loss of lives that would have most likely run into several millions. It, definitely, could have run into unimaginable levels of fatality. Somehow, we escaped Covid’s ferocious fusillades even though it claimed a number of notable Nigerians and the not-so-notables too.

As at twenty-four hours ago, NCDC statistics show that Nigeria has recorded 180,661 Covid-19 cases with 2, 200 fatalities and 166,560 recoveries. If this is not a miracle, then I don’t know what miracle is. But to those who have lost loved ones to the destructive implosion of Covid, this is more than mere statistics. It means irreparable losses, wounds that would never heal, loved ones that have disappeared forever. To them, a favourable comparative statistical analysis is of no particular succour.

Now, suddenly, the Delta arrived!

The headline of the Vanguard newspaper, a national daily tabloid in Nigeria of 12th August 2021, which I referenced at the beginning of this article, on the upsurge in Covid-19 cases in Nigeria was troubling.

It reads “COVID-19: Nigeria records highest cases tally in 6 months amidst delta variant worries –NCDC”.

The report went on to say “As states across the country struggle to curb the spread of COVID-19 Delta variant, the nation is now averaging more than 700 new cases, says the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC ).

The NCDC, which disclosed this known (sic) via its verified website on Thursday morning, added that the country registered 790 additional infections on Wednesday, a sharp increase from the 610 cases it registered a day earlier.”

You don’t need to have a medical degree in epidemiology or clinical virology to understand that this is bad news for us. That this third wave, the Delta variant of Covid-19 is bad company. A very bad company. It attacks with no warning shots. It chokes and kills without recourse. It gives no allowance for medical intervention. Once it strikes, it is a black Mamba venom or the bite of a Komodo Dragon. You stand no chance.

What baffles me is, despite its spooky credentials, Covid-19 doesn’t seem to matter to Nigerians. Oftentimes, I find myself the sole user of nose mask on the road and many places. Except at airports and some government institutions and hotels where enforcement remains strong, compliance with Covid-19 protocols is virtually dead in Nigeria. People still gather in huge crowds – weddings, burials, even if the dead died of Covid, religious programmes, and others often without nose or face masks. We’ve suddenly forgotten that a killer is on the prowl and unforgiving.

We’ve stupidly become fatalistic in our faith and attitude. Que sera sera mentality. No more deliberate preventive discretions. We’ve become insanely careless!

I hear religious leaders and influencers ridicule science and encourage their followers to fight Covid with faith! Some actually go to the extreme of declaring Covid-19 a hoax and a fraudulent international conspiracy to instill fear into humanity in order to achieve some unknown result. Total balderdash and uncommonsensical rascality! Obnoxiously infuriating.

Benjamin Franklin, a polymath and one of the founding fathers of modern America, declared that “Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge.”

We can’t even claim want of knowledge with all the information about this pandemic at our disposal. It’s a killing machine but Nigerians are willing to ride that machine. Our memory is short. We take too much for granted to our own peril.

3Covid-19 is real and deadly. It is an unforgiving killer that respects no boundary or personality. Run from it by protecting yourself and avoiding large gatherings. Wash your hands often and use approved sanitizers. Your prayers and faith and denial may all fail you once you are struck by that virus. I am a man of faith, too. But I don’t put God to the test as warned by the Holy Bible. The same Bible also admonishes that “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)

Let me end this piece by quoting

Linda Ronstadt who wrote that

“The greatest sin is carelessness.”

And I say prevention is better than cure.













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