New Year message for 2021 by Prof. Oladapo Ashiru
I take this unique opportunity to thank many readers who have sent regular compliments to me because of the highly informative and helpful hints they have obtained from reading the column. In the same way, I want to sensitise us to the events of this period. Everyone now has a friend, a relation that has been infected with COVID-19. The pandemic affects anyone exposed to it regardless of wealth or position.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The virus got its name from the Latin word, ‘corona’ which means crown because of the shape of the virus. The disease is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. It emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has spread around the world. The virus has caused a worldwide recession, depression and loneliness.
The first mode of transmission is contact transmission – another route that is thought to play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
Viral particles emitted from the respiratory tract of an infected individual land on a surface. When another person touches that object, and then touches their nose, mouth or eyes, the virus sneaks into the body via the mucous membranes, infecting the second person.
The initial signs and symptoms vary; COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalisation. On average it takes five to six days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however, it can take up to 14 days.
The common symptoms are fever, dry cough, tiredness, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea, aches and pains, conjunctivitis, a rash on skin or discolouration of fingers or toes.
The clinical manifestations of the COVID-19 are; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement
Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms as above.
The Academy of Medicine specialties evaluated the current state of SARSCoV2 and we issued a public statement on what people need to do to control the pandemic.
The Academy of Medicine Specialties releases a unified statement supporting public health measures to combat COVID-19.
AMS supports strategies that protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, health care professionals, and our professional society members and staff. Ongoing public health measures such as distancing, masking, hand hygiene and appropriate personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel are critical in minimising the spread of existing COVID-19 infection and protecting health care providers around the globe. Vaccination is the key to the prevention of new infections.
Following the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for use by the United Kingdom Government on December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the United States of America. On December 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved the recommendation to use this vaccine in the indicated population under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorisation. The Moderna vaccine has also been approved for emergency use in the US. Russia and China also have their vaccine as their many candidate vaccines being developed all over the world.
On December 16th the Lagos State Government issued a release that concerts, carnivals and street parties are banned in the state until further notice. Also, all places of worship were directed to have no more than 50 per cent of their capacity. We believe that the vaccine trials and the FDA and ACIP data evaluation process have been robust and transparent. In other countries across the world, regulatory bodies have also endorsed the vaccine, and similar processes will be followed globally to evaluate each upcoming candidate vaccine. We await the arrival of a vaccine in Nigeria that would be suitable for our climate. It is our collective opinion, after closely monitoring this situation, that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination far outweigh the risks. We endorse vaccination for all eligible health care workers, patients, and our society at large, including populations who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 or complications from the disease, in consultation with their physicians or health care professionals.
It is especially important that certain eligible patient populations, including pregnant women, consult with their trusted physicians when considering whether to take the vaccine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, various medical bodies urged that pregnant and lactating people be included in the vaccine trials and research; unfortunately, they were not.
While a conversation with a clinician may be helpful and is encouraged, it should not be required prior to vaccination as this may cause unnecessary barriers to access. We support additional data collection and research to continue to inform recommendations for these populations.
As vaccination becomes available, the Academy of Medicine Specialties believes that both preventing the spread of existing COVID-19 infections and widespread vaccination are essential to control the pandemic and save lives.
Pending the arrival of vaccines, we encourage the use of treatment protocols to have been found to reduce the mortality and morbidity of the disease. There are several treatment protocols currently undergoing clinical trials. It is hope they would be published soon.
The other issue that concerns healthy living is the rapid growth of the mobile phone industry.
It has been reported that 91 per cent of American adults and 60 per cent of teens own this device that has revolutionised communication in the 21st century — the cellphone. Whether you own an Android, an iPhone series, a Samsung series, or a basic flip phone, chances are you check your phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when your mobile device isn’t ringing or vibrating, reports a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey. In Nigeria, because this is the only mean of communication the figure is close. Nigeria is currently home to about 190 million connected telephone lines, with 145 million having an active subscription. Internet users, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission are about 86 million.
While cell phones provide an efficient and easy way to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers, excessive use can take a toll on your health. Mobile phones use transmitting radio waves through a series of base stations where radio frequency waves are electromagnetic fields that cannot break chemical bonds or cause ionisation in the human body, says the World Health Organization
Although cell phones are considered to be low-powered radiofrequency transmitters, your handset transmits power when it is on, and therefore it is important to increase your distance from the handset to reduce radiofrequency exposure. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggests cell phone users keep a minimum distance of 20 centimeters from their handset to significantly reduce radiation exposure. Adults and especially children can suffer the long-term effects of radiation waves on the brain. “Young children particularly need to be careful,” Dr. Devra Davis, director of environmental oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, told CNN.com.