Covid 19 – Who is winning By Benedict Okhumale

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I have carefully and patiently followed the Covid19 trending conspiracy controversies. These controversies have consumed some of the energies we could have invested in mitigating the wanton destruction which Covid19 has caused and continues to cause. If we were all pulling the cart from one end, we would have perhaps ended or minimise the impact the virus has had on our socio-economic life as well as our psyche. But with the various conspiracy theories, misinformation and disinformation, we have been pulling the COVID19 cart from different sides which keeps the cart(Covid19) dancing around one spot and as such we don’t make sufficient traction to contain the virus.We must realise that because we pull apart the virus is the winning and we are losing

I started following the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in China early January 2020. At the early stage it was reported by Chinese authorities and several international media as a strange Pneumonia observed in Wuhan. I actually didn’t give it a serious thought because Wuhan is very far and I didn’t have any relatives or friends with any ties with Wuhan. So for me at the time it was the business of Chinese authorities to deal with. I was more bothered about the LASSA Fever in Nigeria. The virus outbreak the graduated into an epidemic in Hubei Province. I felt it was China’s business and they will manage it the way they managed SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). After all, when SARS broke out in China I was in Nigeria and SARS wasn’t anything for me to worry about. I must confess that at the time, I generated my own conspiracy theory that it must have been America that created the SARS causing virus to weaken China because I believed the theory that viruses could be constructed artificially and deployed for economic gains or as a biological weapon. I also thought the companies in the medicine value chain were culpable. My beliefs were not founded on any independent scientific research I was involved with nor any extensive independent literature review I did. I relied on the information I gathered from Gossips. I wassimply emotional and quite unenlightened in the subject matter so I fell for conspiracy theories and even created mine. Because I believed in the possibility of a conspiracy I started adding up exclusive occurrences which further reinforcedmy prior conclusion. Since I already concluded in my mind, I lose all sense of objectivity. I had nothing to gain orlose personally by dwelling or fuelling conspiracy theories. I gain more from supporting initiatives advised or enforced by constituted local and global health authorities to fight health outbreaks.

Governments across the world agree that the virus exist and are aggressively fighting the virus. However, at the level of the populace, some individuals still don’t believe there is a virus. This group of unbelievers are either ignorant or living in denial. Some people in the group of unbelievers think this is just 5G killing people. Some people believe that COVID19 is real but that the numbers are grossly inflated,in a grand plan orchestrated for some ‘people’ to embezzle monies. Initially some people believed that the virus couldn’t affect blacks(Africans) later we thought the reason the virus wasn’t very actively spreading in Africa was because of the hot temperature in most African countries. We have been proven wrong as the virus is now very active in Africa. I wonder what the next theory will be.

For those who don’t understand and have not bothered to find out why it’s called a novel Coronavirus perhaps the following explanation will offer some insight. Put simply Novel means something new. This Coronavirus is new to science. Scientist are not magicians. In this stateof emergency, science will initially react to try to saves lives. Scientists learn on the job sometime by trial and error. It would take some time to learn about the virus and observe its mode of expression. The virus is mutating which also poses a challenge and makes it unpredictable. The fact that the symptoms are similar to the common influenza and vary from person to person depending on individual physiology, also makes quick diagnosis and management problematic. Infact in the US, it was initially thought to be the seasonal flu.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons health officials particularly in the US were slow in their response to WHO’s initial advisory and subsequent declaration of Covid19 as a Global Health Emergency.

This foregoing can explain why there might have been gaps in information and seeming confusion in the world of science. In a state of emergency these gaps or inconsistencies are understandable. Mistakes can be made. We now know more than we knew at the beginning and we will continue to learn on the job.

It is not helpful to draw conclusions or support any conspiracy theories on the basis of logic alone. Coincidences do occur. It’s safer and helpful if we err on the side of caution by not taking sides when we cannot independently verify the credibility of the sources of the information and so called “expert opinions”.At times like these people could cash in for personal gains. It’s safer to keep safe. It’s only the living who can talk about conspiracy theories.


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