By Carl Umegboro
Without a doubt, the word ‘COVID-19’ is familiar to everyone except infants. Even infants discernibly observed strange changes particularly unusual access toparents that used to be unavailable, during the global lockdown. The pandemic inarguably shook the world and humbled superpowers as equals to third-world countries. Notably, Coronavirus enabled poor-developing countries to also boldly ban citizens and travelers from rich developed nations including USA, United Kingdom, Switzerland amongst others from entry. This was hitherto unbelievable. Above all, the pandemic unimaginably makes health experts – medical practitioners, pharmacists,professors in health fields to submit to security guardswith little knowledge on health for temperature checks.Indeed, Covid-19 shook the world.
Coronavirus diseases, an infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhab City, Hubei Province, China, and initially reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31, 2019.Amid the outbreak witnessed all manner of predicaments– confusions, conspiracy theories and fake news against information from WHO and other relevant bodies. In the United States, the then president, Donald Trump spearheaded the conspiracy theories for selfish interests and arrogantly went to extreme by stopping WHOfunding. Excitingly, Joe Biden reviewed it immediately inaugurated. As part of conspiracies, a Cameroonian US-based medical doctor, Stella Immanuel masqueraded with misleading information against WHO prescriptions.
In Nigeria, many accepted the conspiracy theories despiteno scientific proofs. The fallacies against Covid–19 include; “Covid-19 vaccine causes infertility in women”,“Covid–19 vaccine alters one’s genetic codes”, “5Gnetwork spreads Coronavirus”, “Drinking alcohol reduces the risk of infection”, “Covid-19 vaccines imbed ‘mark-of-the-beast’”, “Real vaccines take years to produce”,“Covid-19 vaccines attract severe side-effects and allergic reactions”, etc. These are all misconceptions, baseless and misleading. First, technology advancement affects speedand produces results faster than centuries ago. Today, the Covid-19 vaccines are facing similar rejections other vaccines prior to it like vaccines for chickenpox, measles, poliomyelitis also faced. From history, many, particularlyAfricans rejected chickenpox vaccines as poison then which led to many deaths of children before it gained acceptability.
On 5th generation (5G) network, scientists have alwaysdeflated the allegations that it causes Coronavirus. In fact, it should be noted that 5G is not the end in the expansion series. It began from G1 network and will continue to advance by innovations of scientists. Some countries are already gearing up for 6th generation network due to advanced benefits. The world is speedily becoming a global village, and it is only realistic by innovations in technology by scientists. And from record, Covid-19 has significantly plagued countries with little or no 5G network coverage including Iran.
Instructively, politicians and religious preachers that are neither medical experts nor trained in health disciplinehave no basis to dabble into health matters. Supernatural healing is an act of divinity, and doesn’t make a non-medical practitioner to become an authority in health matters. Supernatural healing is without doubt real, but doesn’t deny existence of ailments. Besides, it is still through medical tests – science that healings whetherconventional and supernatural are confirmed.
Remarkably, Pastor Paul Enenche, Senior pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre who is also a medical doctor by training believes in supernatural healings and always holds weekly healing services with testimonies, yet encouraged congregation to adhere toCOVID-19 preventive measures and protocols. Apart from compliance to regulations by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), his church donated medical equipment and safety items worth millions of Naira to government towards combating the pandemic. In addition, his church distributed trailer loads of food items including bags of rice, toiletries, clothes to downtrodden publicincluding non-members and non-Christians during the lockdown. There’s no better way to preach the gospel if it must be ‘good–news’.
By publicly complying with outlined preventive measures, Enenche aptly understands that people have different levels of faith, and that encouraging people to get prevented from the infection doesn’t undermine supremacy of the supernatural. The Glory Dome is the largest Christian auditorium in the world presently, with capacity of 100,000 seaters. Yet, when a lockdown was in place, the church cooperated, operated through House-fellowships. In other words, despite Enenche’s faith in supernatural healings, the clergy understands that preventive measures put in place by health institution should be adhered to in the interest of the general public.
In WHO statistics, from 3 January 2020, a total of 226,236,577 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 4,654,548 deaths from its complications were recorded globally as at 4.18pm on 16 September 2021. In Nigeria, on 17 September 2021, a total of 200,957 confirmed cases, 2647 deaths and 188,817 discharged cases were recorded. These figures affirm that COVID-19 is not a myth but real. The fact remains that from January 2020 to date, the world has recorded unprecedented deaths and sicknesses with COVID-19 symptoms. Sadly, these deathsdidn’t take place far from those rebuffing the outbreak. In fact, many medical doctors had been infected; some died, some survived. Emphatically, information from WHO are superior to individual-opinions of any medicalpractitioner anywhere on health issues. This must be noted. Interestingly, COVID vaccines are administeredfree. Though, public acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines increases gradually, progression is vital.
To sum, preventive measures including approved vaccineshealth experts prescribe as remedies to the outburst should be welcomed without fears. To conspiracy theorists, theymust note that the bloods of those that died following their misleading claims are on their heads. What is expected from leaders particularly religious preachers is to pray against the pandemic and support governments by encouraging their followers to adhere to prescribed preventive measures. Other preachers like RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye deserve commendationfor unyielding supports in the fight against the pandemic.To mislead gullible individuals or mischievously castigate health experts working round the clock to save lives is injudicious. Like Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher said, “prevention is better than cure”. So, takeprotective measures. Covid-19 remains deadly.
Umegboro, ACIArb is a public affairs analyst and social crusader.