It is true. The only corona I ever heard of and saw was a Japanese car about two or three decades ago. It was quite popular in Nigeria but seems not to be in the market any longer. It was at the beginning of this pandemic that I began hearing of corona virus and that corona virus has been in existence but not this version of it. So this version, as some people have it, escaped from a research laboratory in China. Others have it that the Chinese released it to reduce the population of the world. Whatever the source or the reason for the virus, it is certainly wreaking havoc on human beings. Just imagine it, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, is being ravaged by it. Nearly one hundred and forty thousand citizens have already died and thousands are in the hospitals with many in intensive care. The world is afraid. There is a scramble to manufacture a vaccine.

Here in Nigeria, as at the 19th of July, seven hundred and seventy four people were recorded to have died. That is a miracle compared with what is happening in the USA, Brazil, Italy, Spain and so on. These countries do not have the sort of markets that we have. Our markets are usually jam-packed, people brushing others to pass. Do not talk of social distancing here and masks may be useless in such crowds.

The USA and European countries do not have the hordes of unemployed youth roaming about with many of them having no homes, some living in uncompleted buildings, under bridges etc. These people have no skills that could fetch them employment or enable them to be self employed. The only option for a few of them is to take to being commercial motorcycle operators. You will find them at many points congregated, sitting on their motorcycles waiting for passengers. Some of the youth take to being gate men/security during the day and at night, guards. Of course they do not really guard anything at night. They sleep most of the time.

Many questions are pertinent. Why have so few died here? It cannot be because of testing. Testing will only reveal those who are infected. There are not so many people in isolation centres and even only a tiny percentage of those in isolation centres may die. So why are we not having reports on television or even social media that people are dying in great numbers in this or that market? If that is happening we will all know because people will talk and social media will report it in a flash. Why have I not heard that these youth who huddle at night in security huts or uncompleted buildings have been dying in large numbers? Why are the commercial motorcyclists not dying in great numbers? The Governor of Kogi state is boasting that there is no covid 19 case in his state. If there is his political opponents would say so and so will the social media.

Why does it seem that in Nigeria most of the people who die from covid 19 are well off people, the sort of people who at the slightest fever or cough rush to the pharmacy to buy drugs or even fly abroad for treatment? These are people who can and have been looking after themselves with orthodox drugs.

But the low income group, the commercial motorcycle operators, the man or woman sitting all day in the market selling items that would fetch him or her a little money, the mallam who pushes his truck of tomatoes or potatoes all day seem not to be affected. These are people many of whom, if they fall ill, would boil a selection of neem leaves, guava leaves, ewedu, paw paw leaves, lemon grass and so on, and drink, and get well!

I have decided to treat malaria separately. The poor cadre of citizens above would also use the same method to treat malaria. Remember that these people are bitten by mosquitoes every day of their lives. They drink these brews and get well. It is these same people that have not been dying of covid 19 in noticeable numbers. Could it be that all these native herbal medicines that they have been drinking year in year out as treatment for malaria have given some of them immunity from covid 19? If this is not the case why are they not dropping dead in numbers from it? West Africa had been, in those days, described as the white man’s grave. It killed many of them and that is why they did not settle here as they settled in Kenya. Even in those days when malaria was killing the white people black people were drinking their herbal mixtures and walking about safe.

It seems to me that what is happening is that many people in our markets and many of the commercial motorcycle operators and some of the other unemployed and unemployable individuals are carrying the virus but because they are hale and hearty and their immune systems are strong they do not die. But when a person with underlying illness or compromised immunity catches the virus from them he is likely to die. That would explain why high number of persons carry the covid 19 as would be exposed by more testing but only a few of them die here.

So, let us relate the above to the United States of America where nearly four million people are infected by the virus but only a few die as well. But that few is much higher than the few that die in Nigeria. I believe the reason could be what each group eat! The Nigerian poor man eats things laboriously grown in farms without much chemical input other than a few cases in which fertilizer is applied. Add to that the use of herbs for treating themselves that strengthen their immunity. But the average USA citizen perhaps eats a lot of refined food. In the USA farm products are extensively grown with chemicals applied and some of these foods are, perhaps, genetically modified. Could it be that cancer could be prevalent in the USA because of this? And cancer is a major underlying medical condition whose patients will easily fall prey to covid 19.

Now we consider vaccines. My understanding of a vaccine is that it is for prevention, for giving immunity to people who do not already have the illness. So it is good that vaccines be manufactured and some are being tested. But is it a cure for people already infected by covid 19? I have not heard anybody say so. That means that the scientists must still find a cure for covid 19 to treat people who fall victims to it especially people with compromised immune systems even after vaccines are available. It seems to me that when vaccines are available people with low immunity, people suffering from cancer, diabetes, asthma, hypertension and other underlying illnesses and the aged should be given priority in inoculation. As the saying goes, those who are well have no need for physicians. Those who are well, whose need is not as urgent, can be vaccinated after. Who knows, it may be that covid 19 is here to stay like yellow fever or malaria. People will get inoculated once in a while especially when travelling. Or perhaps a cure may be found and whenever anybody is infected he gets treated. But I hope it is not the ebola type illness. May God help all of us.


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