What Could Have Been Done Better to Prevent Covid-19 Pandemic?
Some Fully Kitted Health Workers in Nigeria
What Could Have Been Done Better To Prevent Covid-19 Pandemic
With virtually all nations under total or partial covid-19 lockdown, one cannot help but think on how world authorities could have prevented the pandemic from reaching a pandemic status. While this article is not written for blame game, which can help no one anyway, it is now so glaring that mistakes were made by those who should have protected us from the ravaging monster called coronavirus.
Back in December, 2019 when coronavirus was still confined to China, I checked my big Microbiology textbook to look up what a coronavirus really is. From the little facts I was able get, I knew enough to conclude that if international travel was not put on hold, the entire world was in for a big virus trouble.
The textbook made me to understand that the coronavirus is related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS virus which broke out in the Guangdong Province of China in the year 2002.
Both SARS and Covid-19 could be said to be myterious pneumonia that affect the respiratory systems of those they infect. Coincidentally, the first case of SARS was only officially reported in February, 2003 after it broke out in November of the previous year according to my 7th edition Prescott, Harley, and Klein's Microbiology textbook.
Although SARS was stopped much quickly, the fact that covid-19 infected more people than SARS within a minimal period of time should have been the writing on the wall for World Health Authorities to see and decipher.
Once news was aired that the World Health Organization, WHO had designated the novel covid-19 a disease of no international threat, I actually thought I didn't get the news right. Here we are now with covid-19 death tolls already above 200,000 in number. This is the result of WHO announcing covid-19 a worldwide pandemic on the 30th of January, 2020, more than a month after the disease was first officially reported.
Here are some tips on what could have been done to stop covid-19 from becoming a worldwide pandemic.
1. International travel should have been halted in the wake of the deadly coronavirus disease and this would only have been a few weeks of sacrifice and financial losses. Such a move on time will no doubt have prevented the huge losses of lives and humongous revenue loss the world now has to cope with.
Was it greediness on our part as a whole that made authorities to keep allowing airplanes and cruise ships to move people across the world, unknowingly spreading coronavirus across nations? The revenue losses and interruptions that are now being experienced worldwide is definitely larger that what could have been experienced if restrictions of few weeks had been adopted to allow the virus die out and its chain of transmission broken.
2. National Health Authorities should have taken their national destinies into their hands. What I mean is that if my humble self with basic knowledge of infectious diseases was able to see how effective international travel will be in distributing coronavirus, then the health organizations of each country should not have waited for the World Health Organization before advising their various national Governments on the need to lockdown their countries for stipulated periods of time. This is a lesson learned the hard way but, would serve as a good reminder in case if any future occurrence.
3. Wait for a clear signal from China or any other country who may have recorded covid-19 infections that every known case had been treated and discharged or in the case of casualties, they had been properly buried and that there are no new cases.
4. After such a clear signal, another two weeks of lockdown could be observed to finally ascertain the the complete elimination of the coronavirus. I say two weeks because that is the maximum scientifically proven window period before covid-19 symptoms eventually manifest in an infected person.
Once all is scientifically clear, nations can then gradually ease their lockdowns with health authorities, governments and citizens alike all placed on high alert. Social/physical distancing should for instance continue just like we will have to keep observing it even after the pandemic has been subdued.
If per adventure you expected the list here to have been longer then I will further surprise you that the above actions, simple as they look were all it would have taken to take out covid-19 and prevent it from reaching a disease of international concern. I am now thinking if only we could turn back the hands of time.
It would interest you to know that the total amount of the SARS epidemic infections was roughly 8000, among which almost 10% of infected persons died.
I am sure we are aware that close to 3 million people worldwide have been infected with covid-19 with casualties tipping over 200,000 deaths.
Going Forward: The Deed is Done And We All Have Our Parts to Play
Whether lockdowns are eased or not, we as individuals have to keep abiding by the rules and guidelines of health experts. We are now living in a changed world where physical or social distancing which was hitherto impractical is now a norm.
In Lagos, Nigeria where I reside, one of the conditions the state government gave on any eventual ease of lockdown is that all persons within the state must wear a facemask in public.
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing is another part of life reality today. We just have to keep doing all it takes to prevent covid-19.
Another obvious matter of concern is proper development of working from home systems. While this may be relatively easy for the developed nations, third world countries will find this a formidable challenge yet, it is the best way to go. A situation where physical contact among humans can be reduced to the bearest minimum without negative impact on productivity.
Finally I sincerely hope a covid-19 vaccine or drug is discovered soon and made affordable to all humans everywhere, especially the vaccine. This will deal the final blow to the evil monster called covid-19.