COVID-19 has mutated, become extra resistant – Expert warns

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Dr Emmanuel Opowoye, a Public Health Physician in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH),  warns that COVID-19 virus has mutated and built a lot of resistance.

Opowoye, who gave the warning while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, advised Nigerians to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 guidelines as the second wave of the global pandemic emerges in the country

“COVID-19 virus has mutated and built a lot of resistance toward most preventive measures, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical,” he said.

According to the public health expert, the second wave of the COVID-19  pandemic is more devastating and violent going by precedence from the Spanish Flu which occurred a century ago.

He said that the lackadaisical attitude of people toward safety measures after the lockdown contributed massively to the resurgence of the second wave of the virus, since it has not been completely eradicated.

Opowoye added that research has shown that there is a high risk of about 90 per cent transmission of the virus among people that do not use face masks.

He added that research showed zero per cent transmission with the use of face masks and physical distance of about one meter.

“A face mask is better than a ventilator.

“If you do not use a face mask, you end up being admitted in the ICU thereby using a ventilator which can be deadly,” he said.

According to him, the mortality rate in Nigeria keeps increasing with the emergence of the second wave of the virus in spite of efforts to curb it.

Opowoye cautioned against visiting high-risk areas such as hospitals, clubs, markets among others, adding that one should be responsible for one’s health.

On the vaccine production in some countries, such as U.S., UK and Russia to contain the virus, Opowoye said that there were  bound to be challenges and error in its preparation because of the short period of time with which the vaccine was produced.

“This is evident from the side effects experienced by some users, but because of the high mortality rate being recorded on a daily basis, the vaccine had to be used without passing through proper vaccine trials,” he said.

He also decried the low turn-out of people for the COVID-19 test in the country, noting that testing capacity had improved as test outlets had spread across the country.

“In Kwara for instance, the test, which is free, could be carried out at the Ministry of Health; Sobi Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, and some primary health care centres within and outside Ilorin metropolis.’’

The public health physician said that people with higher risk of contracting the virus included people with compromised immunity such as diabetic patients, people with kidney challenges, pregnant women, cancer patients as well as the elderly.

Opowoye, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols in order to remain healthy especially during the festive period.

He also appealed to the government to be role models and adhere to the policies put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

“It is the government that would be most affected in case of any national emergency,’’ the public health expert said.

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