#COVID-19: How Nigerians React To The Third Wave

Since the detection of a more deadly variant of COVID-19, figures of confirmed cases in Nigeria have surged while some citizens live in denial.

Despite the announcement of a third wave due to the rising figures of confirmed cases and spread of a deadlier Delta variant, some Nigerians are still unperturbed at the mention of COVID-19.

Some Nigerians still live in disbelief over the existence of COVID-19. This is obvious in the way people in social and public gatherings flaut protective protocols against the virus’ spread.

The bulk of people  in places like worship centers, restaurants, sit out gardens, parks, and markets go about their business without regard to protective measures.

‚ÄúThere is no corona,‚ÄĚ some traders said. Photo credit: Bernard Daniel/HumAngle.

Goodness Adaji, an Abuja-based corp member, joked about the third wave of the virus while speaking with HumAngle.

“So you truly believe there is COVID-19? They are even saying we are in the third wave. These¬† people are just playing with our heads,” he said.

Goodness, who enjoys attending social gatherings, does not care about the usage of nose masks or general hygiene protocols put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to him, many clubs in Abuja and even churches do not require anyone to wear a nose mask or wash hands before you are allowed to step in. “How come people aren’t falling down or getting home to become sick after clubbing?” he said.

Ejeh Grace, an accountant, said the only reason she is wearing a nose mask is because her office has made it mandatory. “I don’t believe in¬† COVID-19, and I don’t trust the vaccine so I’m not taking it,” she said.

Speaking with motorists and drivers in Mpape, Abuja, HumAngle gathered that many live in denial. Taxi drivers load their cabs with four persons stuck in the rear seat and two persons at the front, a clear disregard for COVID-19 protocols. 

Photo credit: Bernard Daniel/HumAngle

Many taxi drivers and commercial motorcyclists do not use the nose mask.

Kabiru Obaje, a car hailing service driver smiled and told HumAngle, “this virus is overrated. Yes it is real, but the government isn’t even helping us believe it,” he said, making reference to government agencies and offices where staff don’t use nose masks and still form a cluster.

Obaje wears a nose mask and has a hand sanitizer in his car which he uses after collecting cash from his clients.

“I am very conscious of my health. Although I have mixed reactions about whether to believe it or not, I still take precaution and I’m planning to get the vaccine soon. I don’t take chances.” he said, and admonished religious leaders to be more cooperative and help save the world.

“Our pastors and imams should desist from discouraging people against the vaccine,saying it’s satanic or demonic. Those¬† of us¬† who have taken the vaccine so far are still living fine and are alive.” Obaje said.

Tonye Cocodia, a journalist in Abuja, is one of the few Nigerians taking extra precaution against contracting the virus even after she has had her first and second jab of the vaccine.

“I am taking extra precautions; Washing hands, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask and so on. I am also vaccinated, and everyone should get vaccinated since it’s free,” she said.

She however¬† expressed concern at the rate of sensitisation as many Nigerians still do not see the need to take preventive measures, especially in the light of the more deadly Delta variant. According to her, “it seems like everyone (including the government) is not taking this seriously and it’s disappointing.”

Jennifer, a National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) member who spoke with HumAngle on telephone,  said the third wave topic was raised by her pastor during Sunday service  in her church. He admonished members to be cautious and intentional about their wellbeing as the Delta variant is very deadly and real.

“The best thing to do is to¬† observe social distance, put on your mask, and sensitize yourself because¬† the government will not do everything for us,” Jenifer stated.

Reactions to the vaccine

Blessing Atolagbe, a primary school teacher in Lugbe, took her first jab in April and her second jab in June. According to her, the vaccine is painless and stress-free although her colleague felt dizzy for a while but later felt okay.

“I think that anyone who can get it should. Nigeria has just taken delivery of another batch of vaccines. Once everything is approved, people should be able to start getting¬† their jabs soon,” she said.

Ogbeifun Mena said she can not understand why people are scared of taking the vaccine or what they stand to lose if they do to save their lives.

“It’s okay to be scared, fear is natural but truthfully, I have had worse reactions from other vaccines. The vaccine is perfectly safe,” Cocodia, another respondent, said.

Nigerians made use of all four million vaccines last time, which is a glimmer of hope that more people will turn out to take the newly delivered batch.

The daily infection rate since the third wave is now in hundreds, with 610 new cases and two deaths confirmed on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, as reflected on NCDC website.

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