Chikwe Ihekweazu, director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said 90 per cent of COVID-19 patients recover without any intervention.
He disclosed this at the media briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19 on Wednesday, while responding to a question on how Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo State, recovered in less than one week. He said what a COVID-19 patient usually requires is support for the body to recover by itself. “We should remember that 90 per cent of these patients recover without any intervention. So, if you take something and say you recovered and that something is why you recovered, it doesn’t quite add up. So, hopefully, there will be some treatment emerging over the next few years but remember that people recover from many viruses; that’s the way it happens,” he said.
“There are very few viruses with a cure. Even the ones that have a bad outcome like lassa fever – 20 per cent of patients die from it – it still means that 80 per cent of patients will recover without any treatment per se. What happens is that the body is supported to recover on its own. So, you go to a hospital and for COVID-19, you’re given oxygen. Oxygen is not really a treatment; it’s to keep you alive for long enough for you to recover yourself.” He also appealed to political leaders to refrain from announcing details of COVID-19 cases in their states, and leave such actions to the experts.
“We’re really appealing to our leaders across the country. Please, let the experts do the reporting. Nobody should reveal the identity of a patient, even if it’s the first patient in your state. Please, do not reveal the identity of a patient; the circumstances whether he’s a doctor not. We don’t need all of that. This is a virus. They haven’t committed an offence; they haven’t done anything wrong. We have to show empathy towards all our patients; that’s what we signed up to as healthcare workers,” he said.
He added that political leaders announcing details of COVID-19 cases is not “ill-intentioned”, but about them “not understanding the ethics and norms of the medical practice and public health”. As of 9pm on April 8, 2020, Nigeria had recorded 276 confirmed COVID-19 cases.