Nigeria has recorded its highest daily COVID-19 death toll in six months, more than three weeks after it entered the third wave of the pandemic that is driven by the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.
According to data by the Nigeria Centre Disease Control (NCDC) on Saturday, Aug. 28, 53 people had died of the virus in a 24-hour period amidst an ongoing doctors’ strike over pay and better working conditions. The total fatalities stood at 2,361.
As cases continue to surge, health experts warn the strike may complicate Nigeria’s response to the third wave of the pandemic.
On Saturday, 650 new cases were registered, averaging the tally for three consecutive days. The overall case-count has reached 190,983.
The fresh infections were spread across 17 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, according to the NCDC.
Lagos, the country’s epicentre of the pandemic, reported the most infections with 261, followed by Imo with 95 infections, and Rivers State with 80 infections. Akwa Ibom reported 59 cases while Oyo recorded 24 cases.
Other states with fresh cases are Ekiti (22), Delta (20), Edo (18), Enugu (15), Bayelsa (14), Ogun (11), Kaduna (8), Plateau (7), FCT (5),Gombe (3) and Abia(2).
There are at least 10,575 Nigerians currently hospitalised for the treatment of COVID-19 virus, a 35 per cent decrease from last week’s figure which recorded 16,300 hospitalisations.
Despite the increased death toll, more than 178,047 persons have recovered from the disease. According to the NCDC, the country has tested 2,727,834 samples so far.
In Lagos, hospitals are battling to treat patients amid an impending shortage of medical oxygen.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, recently said that there had been an increase in the use of oxygen for the management of severe COVID-19 patients at isolation facilities.
Sanwo-Olu said that oxygen use had increased from 75 cylinders per day at the beginning of the third wave, to over 400 cylinders per day.
“With our modelling, suggesting that we may be requiring even more oxygen supply over the next few weeks,” the governor said on Tuesday.
“We are exploring several ways of increasing our oxygen capacity, including partnering with the private sector.”
According to him, the state has two functioning oxygen plants at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba, and Gbagada General Hospital.
The NCDC said a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 2, had been deployed to coordinate the national response activities across all states of the country.
The agency urged Nigerians to observe COVID-19 preventive measures and get the vaccine.
In its first phase of vaccination drive, Nigeria administered 3.94 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines so far, with 2.5 million persons receiving at least one dose. Less than one per cent of its 200 million population has been fully vaccinated—1.4 million.
On Monday, Aug. 16, the country began its second phase of vaccination, having received four million doses of the Modern vaccine from the United States.
Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), had described the vaccines as the country’s “only hope out of COVID-19.”
Nigeria had also taken delivery of 177,600 doses of the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine expected to be deployed to hard-to-reach places.
It recently received another donation of about 700, 000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the United Kingdom.
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