WEDNESDAY COLUMN by USSIJU MEDANER
It is another week with the grip of the ravaging coronavirus humbling powerful nations and humanity is still scrambling for solution. The globe has now recorded 1,381,015 cases with a fatality figure of 78,269 as of Tuesday, 7th April 2020. How well Nigeria has fared so far in its response to the pandemic is a whole question altogether; but I still firmly believe that, till now, we have been lucky by some providence to have maintained a remarkably low growth rate of infection.
We recorded the index case of coronavirus in the country on the 28th day of February, 2020. Thirty- six days on, we have recorded 238 cases, at an average of 6 cases per day and a total death of 4 till date. As worrisome as it looks, this is still good when compared to America figure that rose from 6 cases on January 31, 2020 to 362,326 cases on April 7, 2020, at an average of 5,490 cases per day and a total death till date of 10,714 (an average of 180-195 deaths per day); and not just America but a whole lot of super developed nations face varying containment challenges.
Falsely, we would ascribe competence to ourselves; we would want to tell the world we have been superbly good at repelling the virus from deep penetration into our population as it is doing in other climes right now. But that is all a fallacy; it was not our doing, we have just been lucky. I wake up every day scared of what the number would be by the end of the day.
On the part of the federal government, pointblank, two early errors were obvious; the borders were closed a little bit late, and we were not strong enough to enforce rules or perhaps, as usual there are sacred cows that rules are not made for. Members of the National Assembly came in to the country and bypass protocols and process, politicians came in from oversea trips at will, believing that as usual they are more Nigerians than the rest of us. That is government failure markedly responsible for the early cases we recorded.
Yes, what the Federal government has done and is still doing after the initial let down has been remarkable and worth of huge praise but there wouldn’t be any of that until they steer us clear and out of this crisis.
I have no praise either for the citizens, opposition party, and religion authoritative figures included. Our part in the whole episodes till now has been totally unpatriotic. In our stubbornness or perhaps sworn disobedience to constituted authority, we confused our very own safety with our hatred for systemic order. We blatantly ignore stay-at-home order and mix freely still as much as we can in fragrant disobedience of global plea for such precautions.
But not only that, we have also in our characteristic modus operandi, disrupting public processes and slowing down public actions by our very many conspiracy theories, lie fabrications and dissemination as well as unnecessary and ill-timed media war.
Instead of getting busy with strategies to help ourselves and neighbours survive the current storm and the pending, perhaps more striking economic storm that would follow, we have made the choice to be more preoccupied with irrelevances; and become uncertified theorists, propounding fallacious and absurd theories.
How could a man who, perhaps, could not define Physics as a subject matter understand the concept of 5G network? Just like someone telling us a woman gets pregnant because she drank much water and we all rise up to say YES! That is how best to analogise when a politician who apparently doesn’t understand what wireless communication networks or the construct of radio wave spectrum beyond the common fact that he uses a hand-held phone; or a pastor who might not be able to explain the simplest process of the development, function and disposition of any network system but suddenly assumes to be a global scientist without a laboratory using his position of influence to make unproven declaration about 5G network.
The conspiracy about the 5G network did not begin today; it has been on for years. The world has been witnessing the animosity and rivalry between the USA and China because of the 5G network for years. We are all witness of the treatment HUAWEI has been receiving from the USA government. Between the two, it has been a game of control and not safety concern.
About eight years ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO), mobilised researchers to understudy the new network to ascertain its safety and had long before now declared that the 5G network radiation would not constitute any safety concern.
The global Radiation Watchdog, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation protection (ICNIRP), a Germany-based scientific body led by Dr. Eric Van Rongen after seven years of intensive research on the 5G network declared that the network, like earlier mobile standards is safe for the public.
Similarly, in 2012, Nigeria Communication Commission had declared that telecom networks generally cannot cause sickness and that even base station (mast) is safe to live near if they are properly built.
These are the authorities we should listen to on the subject matter because they possess the know-how and capacity to make informed decisions on the subject matter, and they all concluded that the 5G network is safe.
Now, more worrisome and egregious is the theoretical relationship these individuals have propounded between the 5G network and COVID-19; a marriage of inconvenience between radio wave spectrum and virus evolution. It sounds both strange and stupid but unfortunately even the educated elite believe it. I can’t imagine how the human brain could construct such dangerous babble.
Yes, the conspiracy theory of Bill Gates’ implant is as old as the Obama presidency’s healthcare policy in America; it was absurd for anyone to deliberately resuscitate the old long story to feed a fresh desire to inappropriately link the 5G network, the coronavirus and a non-existing implant vaccine.
How do you relate 5G, a technology, a network system and a means of information transmission, an inanimate thing, with coronavirus, an organism and an animate being? Where do we begin the correlation from?
The story is not limited to the 5G propaganda; it has also become a slap on our common intelligence and literacy when we literarily circumvent research procedures to jump at conclusions without basis. It is unexplainable how the concept of genetically engineered SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) becomes a household truth among our population.
It is very humbling that educated elites among us would line-up to support and defend the crooked and unbelievable fabrication. Now, our social media is agog with arguments and counter arguments of how China has produced the virus and is now benefitting from the virus. The irony is that many social media activists who were wishing the president and his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari death are now praying for the recovery of the British Prime minister ,Boris Johnson, that’s unpatriotic and inhuman. We expend so much energy accusing the government of receiving help from China, claiming, yet another thoughtless conjecture of “contamination;” so much that the body of journalists, one that ought to know better, or rather be in position to fact-check stories, is the one at the forefront of compelling the government not to accept aid from China.
This is the same China that, as at today, nations are beckoning on for aids and deals. Would America, France, UK and others be patronising and receiving help from the same China today if there is a little truth in the anti-China conspiracy? Or do you think those countries are daft and do not have information beyond your level and comprehension.
We sit at the convenience of our sitting room and fabricate stories, drawing conclusions without undertaking experiments and even basic critical thinking, while scientists are busy world over researching the subject we ignorantly discuss.
I had the opportunity to glance through a research work done at the Scripps Research Institute entitled “An Analysis of Public Genome Sequence Data of SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus).” The objective of the work was to confirm or otherwise the speculations that the coronavirus was made in a laboratory. The research work after the analysis found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered. It says that the novel coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China in 2019 is a product of natural evolution. Associate professor of immunology and microbiology, Kristian Andersen, PhD says it is firmly determined by comparing available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, COVID-19 originated through natural processes. (An analysis of public genome sequence data of SARS-CoV-2; https://www.sciencedaily.com)
Another research work authored by Robert F. Garry, of Tulane University; Edward Holmes, of University of Sydney; Andrew Rambaut, of University of Edinburg; W. lan Lipkin, of Columbia University, entitled “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” (tree.bio.ed.ac.uk/publication/596) stated that coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging widely in severity. In 2003, we had the SARS epidemic in China; in 2012, we had the MERS epidemic in Saudi Arabia and in 2019, COVID-19 in Wuhan China.
The research searched for evidences of natural evolution. They found that the RDD portion of the current virus spike proteins had evolved to effectively target molecular features on the outside of human cell called ACE2, which is so effective at binding to human cells. The team concluded that the current virus was the result of natural evolution and not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
This work went ahead to state that while SARS was contracted by human from civet, MERS came through camel while COVID-19 is from bat; but suspected the likelihood of an intermediate host.
This is definitely not a time for us to be encumbered with frivolous and unproductive gyrations, but rather a time for us to look-out for each other ; a time to shelve differences and engage the authority positively to proffer solution to the ongoing crisis; a time to be prepared for what is coming after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our concern now should be how do we maintain the lockdown and still survive? How do we kick out the virus out of our nation? How do we return back to normalcy individually and as a nation?
The truth is that the globe cannot and would not remain the same after COVID-19. While we know for sure that China did not intentionally engineer the coronavirus, we also know for a fact that nations are already taking advantage of the pandemic to re-arrange the world order.
How China came out of the red zone of the coronavirus attack is still shrouded in mystery; yes mystery because the country is currently not sharing the whole truth of the treatment pathway, probably to remain in control and probably use as a step to take over global economic power if not becoming the world most powerful nation. Russia is sitting on the fence ready to take advantage of the present crisis to displace USA as the world power. America is on full attack on all sides; the virus is dealing the country a blow while rival nations are planning to pilfer its power and the nation is not sitting totally still; conspiracy of a china genetically engineered COVID-19 and an unsafe and to be rejected 5G network are definitely birthed in the state.
It is a different level of war among the world powers. It is a street war; a media war. And you have joined the army of street fighters but when all these are over, it would be the case of where two elephants ffought.
God Bless The Federal Republic Of Nigeria!