The lockdown imposed by the Federal government and some state governments has led to economic losses in major sectors of the economy. Although it is necessary, the lockdown has brought untold hardship on a large number of the population who have to earn daily to sustain a living. The clamour for the lockdown to be lifted has since increased despite the increase in the number of cases and palliatives given out by corporate bodies and the government.
Following the announcement by the President, Mohammadu Buhari yesterday to ease measures and begin a gradual lifting of the lockdown from the 4th of May, social media has been filled with arguments, for and against the lifting of the lockdown. However, the question to be answered is, is the lockdown really effective?
It is important to note that when ever there is an outbreak, controlling the spread of the disease is a critical step to be taken. Although the most effective way to phase out an outbreak, is to develop a drug or vaccine and administer them in order to achieve herd immunity, outbreaks caused by novel viruses are usually more difficult to contain.
There are different ways to contain the spread of a disease during an outbreak. The measure adapted should depend largely on the mode of transmission of the disease. During the outbreak of Lassa fever for example, the measure taken to prevent the spread was avoiding direct contact with rats, their droppings, contaminated surfaces and consumption of food contaminated by rat urine and faeces. In the case of the current pandemic, because the covid-19 can be transmitted through droplets, social distancing, travel restrictions, a total lockdown among other measures are key to mitigating the spread.
The lockdown especially has proven to be effective in slowing down the spread of Coronavirus. Countries such as Ghana that relaxed the lockdown imposed on some major cities have since experienced an exponential increase in the number of new cases. Furthermore, Nigeria which was forecasted to have 2000 cases a month after the report of the first case, has 1337 cases as at 27th April which is a testament to the effectiveness of the lockdown in slowing down the spread.
As the call for an alternative method to control the virus deepens in order to sustain the economy, the new method proffered should be as effective or more effective than the current total lockdown.