Coronavirus and the Casual State


Anthony Akinola



Were it not for the sudden intervention of coronavirus, our so-called prophets would have been issuing out spurious predictions on who would win the American presidential election based on what they have read in the newspapers or heard in the news.. It would have been praise be to God when they have guessed right in their any one from two permutation. The most serious global occurrence of many decades has been the nerve-wracking coronavirus crisis in which the entire world is engulfed in. The only difference between coronavirus and a full-blown out world war is that no one is deliberately being killed in the former. People are dying nevertheless, and the end of this dangerous crisis is not in site. Our prophets did not see this coming.


The dangerously-infectious disease of coronavirus sprung off in China late last year and has since become an epidemic of global proportions. Nothing has disrupted global activities as much as this in living memory. All sporting activities of note have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Schools have closed down prematurely. In some nations, people have become prisoners in their homes, not least because of the mandatory order that they must stay at home and maintain a reasonable distance between their partners and children. The hospitals are stretched out and patient admission is being rationed. Many appointments are being cancelled because the hospitals and doctors are overwhelmed.


Many economic activities have crumbled in a matter of days and intelligent governments are busy discussing how these businesses can be bailed out and the sufferings of their now redundant workers alleviated. Most of the small businesses affected, in Britain for instance, have been the restaurants cinemas, and pubs. Because it is no longer advisable for people to sit close to one another, the need to continue with these small scale businesses has lost  economic purpose or rationale.


One of the most hit big industries has been the airlines. Flights are being cancelled daily, and wise nations have either been closing their bothers or temporarily proscribing flights from countries that have been badly afflicted by the virus. These temporary measures have had to be taken in the national interest and have had nothing to do with relations, cordial or otherwise, between nations. Nigeria may have been rather casual in all of these. Flight restrictions have neither been made, nor testing and quarantine measures taken with the seriousness the crisis demands. There seems to be an assumption on the part of the Nigerian government that banning flights from some countries reflect bad relations-a very naive assumption in the face of current crisis.


Even when quite a number of us are holed up in our rooms, ordered or advised to self-isolate, our concerns have  been with our people back home. Based on the situation observed in the outside world, our fear is that the facilities to engage an epidemic of very large scale are simply not there in Nigeria. In this regard, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of those in positions of authority to do their best in containing the spread of a very dangerous disease. People should be advised and made to do what they need to do in the present circumstances. This crisis should also be a pointer to the need to invest , quantitatively and qualitatively, on the health of our nation.


The coronavirus crisis is not one for pastors, imams, and prayer warriors. Churches and mosques have been cancelling their activities, not least because it is no longer advisable for groups to congregate. Funeral services have been put on hold in some instances known to this writer. To underline the seriousness of the time we are in as well as the importance of human life, even the Pope has cancelled Easter celebrations.


We must be reasonable and not assume that the black pigmentation provides immunity to the disease. A few black people, including Nigerians, have been the casualties of this deadly disease. This may not be the time for us to flaunt our ignorance.