Like other celebrations held earlier this year, Nigerians may have to settle for a low-key Christmas considering the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
Last week, about six days into the religious festival observed to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, 5,176 fresh Covid-19 infections were reported – the highest weekly figure so far.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the last time such a high figure was reported was between June 21 and 27 when a total of 4,269 new cases were recorded.
At that period, the country had reached the peak of the spread as the figures went down in subsequent weeks to the point of recording less than a thousand fresh cases.
Away from breaking previous records, last week’s figure represents a 26 per cent increase from the previous week’s record of 3,820.
This significant increase ushered in the second wave of the virus which was officially declared by the chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on Thursday — the day Nigeria recorded 1,145 cases, its highest daily figure so far.
In their reaction, state governments have begun to issue directives on the second wave, placing some restrictions.
Similar to previous warnings by the NCDC and PTF, the state authorities have been insisting on the adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols, which include use of face masks, sanitizers, and social distancing rules.
It is, however, noteworthy that the surge in new cases occurred despite a reduction in the number of tests carried out last week.
A total of 29,159 samples were collected for testing last week as against 53,919 tested the previous week.
Since the pandemic broke out in February, a total 874,617 samples have been collected for testing.
Recoveries, deaths rise
Further analysis also showed that the number of fatalities and COVID-19 patients discharged increased last week.
A total of 1,934 persons recovered and were discharged last week, which represents a 37 per cent increase when compared to the previous week’s record of 1,200.
Also, Nigeria recorded 24 deaths last week as against the 14 persons who died of COVID-19 complications in the previous week.
In fact, last week’s casualty figure is the highest in three months as the last time Nigeria recorded such a high weekly death rate was between September 13 and 19.
Nigeria so far
As of the time of reporting, Nigeria has 77,933 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of this figure, 67,784 have been discharged and 1,218 deaths have been recorded in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A breakdown of the confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 26,490 cases, followed by FCT – 9,515, Kaduna — 4,451, Plateau — 4,238, Oyo — 3,788, Rivers — 3,375, Edo — 2,761, Ogun — 2,373, Kano — 2,016, Delta — 1,843, Ondo — 1,787, Katsina — 1,380, Enugu — 1,376, Kwara — 1,296, Gombe — 1,164, Ebonyi — 1,091, Abia— 980, Osun — 977, Bauchi — 897, Borno — 774, Imo — 734, Nasarawa — 600, Benue — 515, Bayelsa — 492, Ekiti — 403, Akwa Ibom — 395, Jigawa — 386, Niger — 381, Adamawa — 355, Anambra — 299, Sokoto — 228, Taraba — 203, Yobe— 150, Kebbi — 143, Cross River— 93, Zamfara — 79 and Kogi — 5.
Lagos State remains the epicentre for the disease with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the country.
The other five states with the highest number of confirmed cases are FCT, Kaduna, Plateau, Oyo and Rivers states.
Of the 36 states and the FCT, only Zamfara and Kogi did not record at least a fresh case last week.
It should be noted that only Kogi state has no active COVID-19 case currently but has been very reluctant to test its residents.
Timeline last week
On Sunday, 418 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country.
As of 11:55 p.m. on December 13, a total of 73,175 cases had been reported, out of which 66,090 have recovered and 1,197 deaths recorded.
On Monday, 201 new cases of the pandemic were reported in the country.
On Tuesday, 758 new cases were reported.
On Wednesday, 930 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country.
On Thursday, 1,145 new cases were reported in Nigeria, hence bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 76,207.
On Friday, 806 new cases of the pandemic were recorded.
On Saturday, 920 new cases were reported in Nigeria, hence bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 77,933 as of 11:55 p.m. on December 19.