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Between hunger and avoidance of coronavirus

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THE pandemic, coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 has stopped socio-economical activities and day-to-day movements, sporting activities, among others. As the world seeks to find a cure to the pandemic and curb the spread of the virus, counties ordered a total lockdown.

  In Nigeria, some states ordered total lockdown while some ordered curfew with exception of those who perform essentially duties like the media, health workers and those who sell foodstuffs but Nigerians complained of the lockdown order.

  This pops the big question, hunger and coronavirus, which is more deadly?”

  During the lockdown, many Nigerians violated the lockdown orders, the social distancing, still engaging in inter-state travels due to porous borders, none adherence to wearing of facemask or regular washing or sanitising of their hands as instructed by National Center for Disease Control(NCDC) and World Health Organisation(WHO). Some even claimed the virus is “audio-virus” and a way for our politicians to make money.

  Now the lockdown has been eased and Nigerians are happy about it but then, the number of cases still increases rapidly. States now record more numbers in a day than they recorded when the lockdown was still in effect. Inter-state travels are banned and security agencies man boarders but still, people travel into different states.

  “This virus is not real, all our politicians just want to make money and that’s why some states would just make up stories of someone coming in from another state with the virus so that they would get relief funds. Everything is just politics”. Nkechi said when she was asked the big question. She further said “I would rather be out there trying to make money than stay at home and die from hunger”.

  Speaking to Mr Sunday about the issue, he said ,”I’m a daily earner. During the lockdown, it was hard to feed with my family. I couldn’t even go outside because those that gave me jobs were indoors due to the lockdown. Now that the lockdown has been eased, I can at least get some money to feed my family. I hear the numbers are increasing but all I want is a way to feed my family. The palliatives didn’t get to me, so I can’t stay home and die of hunger with my family”.

  Mrs. Mba had something different to say about the question, she claimed:”Truly, hunger kills but not as fast as the virus. Coronavirus is more deadly and can spread even when you’re unconscious of your environment but when one is hungry, he alone is hungry. I’d keep adhering to the instructions and remain indoors even as the lockdown has been eased, I would go out only when it’s very necessary and I would try to keep social distancing as I wear my facemask. Luckily, I can work from home”.

  Mrs. Nnenne Ekechukwu, a counselor said, “it all depends on the perspective. To someone in a developed country, the answer would unanimously be that coronavirus is more deadly but in a developing or third world country, majority of the populace would go for hunger as the more deadly”.

  She further added that for her, coronavirus is more deadly . “The rate at which the virus is spreading and the increasing number of cases and death all over the world shows clearly that the virus is more deadly”.

  Nwosu Samuel, a medical practitioner,  said from the medical perspective, it’s very important that they try in fighting the virus and also dealing with hunger too as no patient can be treated on empty stomach. “It doesn’t work that way, so it’s important the two are treated equally”.

  “From a medical point of view, our concern is to treat the virus, to find remedy to the virus, to find a vaccine that could be used to combat the virus. Little concern is given to hunger, but it’s very important to the medical practitioners that the patient is eating well because it’s only when the patient is eating well, he or she would have good metabolism to fight the virus. A patient can’t take drug on an empty stomach. No hospital, doctor or nurse would advise that.

  “The medical practitioners are concerned about treating affected patients and how they can recover and also help stop the virus from infecting more persons. It is also important that there’s a kind of balance between curbing coronavirus and reducing hunger. The government is supposed to share palliatives that would be evenly distributed to everyone especially the poor, nobody is bothered now about those who have lost their jobs and those that are displaced, increasing the rate of poverty and hunger; when the society has more of these problems, the next thing is to go into anarchy and violence and theft.

  “Hunger is as disturbing as the virus.  You can’t treat COVID-19 on an empty stomach. There are reports of people fleeing from the isolation centers because they are not properly fed. Let’s not neglect the aspect of feeding people outside who aren’t infected and only treating infected persons.”

  He further said, “the number of hunger cases are higher than the numbers of infected coronavirus patients which is a fact. Even those who are infected wouldn’t want to go to the isolation centers due to the stigma, fear and not being taken care of. It’s creating more fear than the virus out there and putting the country in a mess, but all the same, it’s necessary that while we look at treating the virus, we also look at taking care of the people out there who are dying of hunger so we don’t have more people dying out there thinking it is the virus. It’s one thing to look at the virus and also look at the hunger too, take care of those on the streets.”

  Also, Rev Kingsley Opara said, “coronavirus has eaten deep into the country and it’s deadly but let’s not forget the aspect that before coronavirus, hunger has killed millions round the country as most citizens are poor.

  “Both are deadly and meant to be treated equally. Apart from the church being a house where people come and pray to God and also get closer to him, the church has different arms on how it operates in respect to health, education and charity. In charity, that’s where alms giving come into place, as the church gives out physical stuff to people who are poor or displaced.

 In health, the church donates to hospitals or health agencies. In education, through it’s sermons and bulletins, it helps sensitise people about the danger of the virus and also to follow directives of health agencies.”

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