Cases to reach 748,100 if lockdown eases by 50%
A group of experts from the Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Lancaster University, United Kingdom, have released a report projecting a spike in the figure of Coronavirus, (COVID-19) in Lagos and Kano in June and early July if lockdowns were relaxed.
The report predicts that if the restrictions are lifted entirely in Lagos and Kano, the cases could hit 1.788 million during the period.
The Lagos State government has corroborated this with a projected rise in COVID-19 cases by July and August.
The breakdown shows Lagos may record 868,700 cases in early July and Kano could record 919,900 total cases by early June, without any form of restriction in place.
The study further projected worrying spike in the COVID-19 cases as the movement restriction eases by 50 percent in those states, with Kano overtaking Lagos in the confirmed cases.
It said with a 50 percent increase in mobility – people leaving their homes, shopping, going to work and socializing – the number would leap to 748,100 cases in the two states.
There may be 102,600 cases in Lagos and 645,500 Kano state by early July 2020.
The Executive Report released on 3rd May 2020 was led by Yusuf Yau Gambo, an Applied Mathematician and Data Analyst, and Yunus A. Abdulhameed, a Biomedical Physicist, both of the Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano.
It was reviewed by Professor (Emeritus) Peter McClintock, an expert in Biomedical Physics, Nonlinear Dynamics and Low Temperature Physics at the Lancaster University, United Kingdom; and Professor Basant Kumar Jha, an expert in Mathematical Modelling at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The report which is based on a predictive mathematical model said using data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) it projected the 3,482 cases. Lagos is projected to record about 2,038 cases and 1,444 total cases for Kano.
It further said this peak could come in early June. “But those figures rely on the states keeping the current restrictions in place,” the model predicted.
“If measures are relaxed by 50 percent in these states, our model projects that the number would skyrocket to these figures,” it explained.
As of Thursday, Nigeria recorded 381 cases of COVID-19, bringing the confirmed cases to 3,526. While 2,818 cases are active, 601 patients have recovered, and 107 others have died.
Of these figure, Lagos has 1,491 confirmed cases: 1,052 patients are on admission, 406 recovered and 33 died. Kano confirmed 482 cases: 450 patients are on treatment, 19 recovered and 13 died.
The team also warned that continuous testing was crucial to confirming the cases. It said: “It is important to note that without testing for the virus on a massive scale, only less number of cases could be confirmed while a good percentage of people carrying the infection would remain undetected.”
Urges sustenance of lockdown
The experts in the report said the only way to defeat these projections is to continue the restriction in the absence of a vaccine or a cure.
“With the evidence that we have, the virus cannot be stopped at the moment. We’ve to alter our traditional, cultural and even religious and social norms, the way we operate, the way we work, until there is a vaccine or cure,” said the experts’ report.
Commenting on the accuracy of the model, the team said the model and data agreement was nearly perfect. The result was also subjected to test in the United Kingdom, “and fitted the model with COVID-19 data received from 20 most populated cities in USA.”
The team also urged the authorities concerned to take advantage of the insight provided on the potential dynamics behind the transmission of COVID-19 in the two most populated states in Nigeria.
In its recommendation, the report emphasized that: “Only partial mobility should be allowable.” It added that any person over the age of 10 and is in a public space within Lagos and Kano states should now be required to wear a face mask.
It also said, worship centres should remain closed until after each state had reach peak of the wave. “However, even after attaining the peak, there is also a potential likelihood of another resurgence (second phase) of the virus,” it warned.
Restaurants and bars should close dining areas but may maintain takeaways; higher institutions of learning should conduct lectures online or allow only 40 people per lecture room while providing sanitizers.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has projected the rise of Coronavirus pandemic between 90,000 and 120,000 cases in the state by July or August.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said yesterday that the state may possibly record between 90,000 and 120,000 cases of the virus within the period.
The commissioner said with the current trend in Lagos, it was expected to reach its peak by that period.
He said Lagos had expanded its testing capacity to reach a large number of people and attributed the sharp rise in cases being recorded to the decentralisation of sample collection across the 20 local government areas of the state.
According to him, if the government had not been proactive, Lagos would have by now recorded 6,000 cases rather than the 1,491 cases recorded so far. Lagos State currently has 1,491 confirmed Coronavirus cases.