As at December 26, 2020, a total of 83, 576 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Nigeria. 70, 495 of the cases have been successfully treated and discharged, while the country unfortunately has so far recorded 1247 deaths. On the said day under review, 829 new cases were confirmed.
Lagos recorded its first index Covid-19 case on February 27, 2020 and the state has remained the epicentre of the dreaded virus which has been officially pronounced as a pandemic. The fact is Covid-19 brought about an unprecedented global health crisis and practically altered all spheres of human endeavour.
Prior to the first case, the Lagos State Government had set up some Isolation Centres, while also ramping up the capacity of the Yaba Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) to appropriately respond to the pandemic in the event of recording any case.
Out of the Isolation Centres, that of Yaba IDH stands out as the main centre for treating the Covid-19 patients in the state, and the reason for this is not far fetched going by the fact that the hospital had been equipped for the purpose of responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases.
During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the hospital played crucial role in containing the disease, while post-Ebola, several facilities were put in place at the hospital including the Biobank Laboratory designed to engender effective management of infectious diseases with special focus on containment and strengthening the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to all manner of threats.
The Biobank has two Biosafety level laboratories known as BSL 2 and 3 with capacity to process and rapidly identify samples of infectious diseases with epidemic potential.
Back to Covid-19, the Yaba IDH, like the Ebola outbreak, was the epicentre for the treatment of patients. In the peak of the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, investigation revealed that in less than three weeks, over 700 patients died at the hospital.
An eye witness, who was at the hospital alongside other family members to collect the corpse of a relative, revealed that the situation was terrifying and alarming as people were dropping dead like flies as a result of Covid-19 complications.
According to him, “As I stood at the Isolation Centre, I was afraid as vehicles were trooping in bringing patients to the hospital. There was a particular case of a wrong corpse that was detected during the lying-in-state that really touched me.
“The family members had collected their corpse and took him away for burial. While the lying-in-state service was ongoing, they decided to open the casket to pay their last respect to the deceased and it was right there that it was discovered that a wrong corpse had been handed to them.
“They had to abruptly end the service and took the corpse back to Yaba IDH where the matter was resolved and the corpse of their deceased relative was handed to them, before they took him for burial. That incident really traumatized me as I was there when the scenario played out,” he said.
He said there was also the case of a white man that looked so healthy who came down from the car by himself but had to be wheeled to the Emergency Ward for quick medical intervention as his case suddenly got worse.
Another eyewitness, who is one of the medical personnel at the hospital, also narrated how a Medical Doctor died while his data was being collated at the hospital.
“You see, as a Medical Doctor, he knew the symptoms of the virus and when he suspected he was having some of the symptoms, he decided to drive himself to Yaba Isolation Centre for treatment.
“However, it was unfortunate that while his medical history was being collated, he fell and died instantly,” the witness who does not want to be named said.
Speaking further, he said it was unfortunate that many people out there still have the impression that there is nothing called Coronavirus, and that it is a scam.
“My message to such people is that whether it is a scam or not, it takes nothing to adhere to the safety protocols of washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap under running water, maintaining social distancing, using face masks, among others.
“This is even more imperative as the second wave of the virus is effectively now with us. Until there is a cure, we cannot afford to lower our guards with regards to strictly adhering to the safety measures put in place to ward off the threat of the virus,” he said.