I have spent so much time watching and studying how people reacted, and still react to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter the nation or subnational entity, the response will fall into one of these categories. I also took note of how individuals from different backgrounds reacted to the same stressor or situation. I realised that the personalities and interests of the people determined their responses. The background of the person also played major roles too. 

This is not a research paper. It’s just my observation of responses to a socio-medical/economic situation.

S1 Secrecy 

This was the initial Chinese approach. The Chinese initially tried to suppress the fears of the doctors and health personnel that raised the alarm of a strange illness in Wuhan. The doctor, Li Wenliang, who raised the alarm was silenced and targeted by government agencies. He eventually died painfully from complications of COVID-19.

If China had not tried, as usual, to behave in their usual secretive style, we might not have had a pandemic. 

North Korea is another case in point. We don’t know what’s happening there. A disaster might just be brewing that might constitute a global issue. 

Three Russian doctors mysteriously fell from hospital windows; coincidentally, some were among those who complained of lack of personal protective equipment or the situations in the healthcare delivery system. Today, Russia is experiencing a very high rate of COVID-19 infection on a daily basis. As at the time of writing, they are in the top 3 most confirmed cases in the world. 

Some states in Northern Nigeria were experiencing unusually very high death rates, and their leaders were saying that the people were dying of a mysterious disease. Some even denied what was known to several people. I predicted in my posts that there were going to be more deaths in the North because of the visuals from there. The scenario is being repeated from city to city in some parts of the North.

There were those who had coronavirus but lied about their travel history. One of them died at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. He created problems for so many people. 

My people, the Urhobo tribe of Midwestern Nigeria, have a saying that you do not hide your nakedness from the person who will package you for burial. Any male patient that is ashamed that he has torsion of the testicle might end up with irreparable damage with pains.

Most secretive people don’t grow beyond their fears. China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea can never outpace the United States of America that is an open society.

Read previous Lessons From COVID-19 here.

S2 Seriousness 

When China eventually realised that she had a hot potato in her hands, she tackled the novel coronavirus, then an epidemic, with all seriousness, including methods that some will call draconian. They mobilised all their resources against it, building massive hospitals within record time. Test kits and Personal protective equipment were massively produced. Doctors were mobilised from other provinces to tackle the epidemic, and they were able to bring it under control, but it was too late for some countries.

Senegal, in West Africa, took it very seriously. They developed their own test kits and ventilators. They took preventive measures very early, and they were able to mitigate the spread and deaths. They became a model for other African countries in Africa. 

South Korea also took it seriously. They developed their own test kits and did massive testing. They were able to reduce the death rates, and flatten the curve (which has become the new medical term).

My people say that you start looking for a black hen or goat when it is not yet dark.

S3 Simpleton Approach

Donald Trump took it very casually. He said it was just like any flu that will soon go away the way it came, and that the figures are low. As I write this post, we have 1,334,951 infected cases and 79,699 deaths in the US. There is a projected figure of 130,000 deaths by August.

I am currently watching a young child, Julia Daly, who survived a complicated form of COVID-19 infection. She was interviewed on CNN with her doctor and her father. There was no secrecy; people were informed and enlightened by the openness.

Trump refused to wear facemasks and created a very casual approach to the social distancing protocols. The West Wing of the White House is now under serious threat from COVID-I9 infection.

If you take anything casually, you will likely become a casualty.

There are a lot of poor and ignorant folks who still think that COVID-19 is a joke. Some claim it does not affect poor people or black people. Pure ignorance and stupidity.

S4 Sensationalism

I have been to Madagascar several times, and I know Madagascar quite well. The current president of Madagascar used to be a radio presenter in Antananarivo. Even if they had a drug that could treat COVID-19, he should have used it to treat his people, get detailed and empirical data from trials with controls. I don’t know if the drug has a dosage because the President was drinking it from a bottle like orange juice. I don’t know if there is a label showing the active ingredients and their percentages. We don’t know if adequate trials were done with pregnant women and children.

He should have allowed the medical professionals of his nation to share their results with other international collaborating scientists, especially in Africa, like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya before coming on to do a show on global TV. 

There is no second chance to make a first impression. My prayer is that the Madagascar solution will work wonders. It will bring great honour to Africa and Africans. It will also bring a lot of much-needed financial gains to Madagascar. Madagascar is a very beautiful country in its own unique way. I love Madagascar, but if care is not taken, they will frustrate his efforts.

Remember Dr. Abalaka and his HIV vaccine.

Am I contradicting myself? No.

Manufacture and maximise your discovery, before you market it. Produce enough evidence and people will rush to you.

Professor Iwu should have subjected his cure to trials in his university or in collaboration with his state task force on  COVID-19 before coming on air.

Medical and scientific research are very dangerous areas. They can kill your discovery or kill you.

However, there was the way people were anticipating and announcing COVID-19 cases as if it was lottery results or league results. COVID-19 has not killed more people than the usual flu. More people have died from Boko Haram and herdsmen than COVID-19. If the President and the governors have tackled the Fulani herdsmen crisis with this degree of sensationalism, we would have had a more stable and United Nigeria. 

A child dies from malaria every 2 minutes. The sensationalism of 5G and microchip vaccines, sometimes, are just too sensational that they make no sense. I hear people say that we are in end times because of COVID-19. We have had worse pandemics than COVID-19. 

Some of our governors are going to the extreme in a bid to enforce the lockdown order.

If you indulge in sensationalism, you are not sensible. Most of what you want to achieve can be achieved tactfully, diplomatically, and simply. Attention-seeking people like sensationalism; they are usually prone to unpredictable errors.

S5 Spirituality 

I am a deeply spiritual person. I believe I am a spiritual phenomenon clothed in flesh, but I am not a religious fanatic or bigot. Religious fanaticism, extremism, and religious superiority is a sign of spiritual dwarfism and intellectual obscurantism. 

When, as a religious person or leader, you have this messianic mentality, you are deluded with spiritual hypomania. 

I pray a lot but you won’t hear me pray, even if I am on the same bed with you. I have seen great miracles happen in my ministry, but the miraculous is too probabilistic and periodical to be a management principle or a panacea for daily living.

In crisis situations, I speak to the wind, but I also wait for the still small voice of God. I pray to get insight into what to do. The people who are going to provide the solutions and reap the benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic are not the prayer warriors or the pastors screaming online. The people are quietly relating with the spirit realm in their closets. If they are not scientists, they might be businessmen or businesswomen, policy-makers, or industrialists asking God for what to do.

Joseph and Daniel were sent for, from the palace. If you have revelational insight, people will call for you. In all your spirituality, don;t fail to add common sense.

I’m going to come out of this pandemic better and bigger. I’m asking God to deal with some issues in my life. There are mistakes I will never make again.

S6 Science

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, had one of the most terrible challenges during this pandemic. With a population of 90 million people, he had a terrible situation of daily deaths in their hundreds; corpses were everywhere, there was shortage of nearly everything, but he handled it very calmly and responsibly. He took his decisions based on statistics. He had graphs and analysed data. He came up with solutions. He did not allow his temperament and emotions come into play.

When people and nations do not work with data and statistics, it is like somebody driving blindfolded. Such people act very blindly, argue a lot, and are very erratic in decision-making. They don’t plan with data; they jump without knowing what’s on the other side of the fence. They try to cover their stupidity with spirituality.

A church in the US wants to refund tithes to their members from a few years back. This means they have detailed records of all their tithes intact. They must have looked at their records and calculated that they can cater for their staff needs and many missionaries globally. 

I am always amazed at Zacchaeus’ response when he said he would refund money to those he had cheated in multiples. He kept records he had data. 

In the Parable of Talents, there was data. In the Book of Numbers, there was record-keeping. 

The Italians went back and did postmortem examinations on dead victims of COVID-19, and found out the major cause of death was microembolism. This means tiny clots of blood going into the vital organs. The elderly, diabetic, and hypertensive patients are more likely to produce microemboli because of plaques in their blood vessels. This led to the introduction of blood thinners in the treatment regime. 

The white man will continue research into the COVID-19 cases for years, after religious people have finished their thanksgiving services.

S7 Sensitivity 

Andrew Cuomo would have had a very hot disagreement with Donald Trump, but he was very sensitive to the personality of Donald Trump. He knew how to handle him and his peculiarities, and he got whatever assistance he needed from him. Some other fellow would have had so much distraction by quarreling with him. 

I was amazed at the way Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Birx handled the daily press briefings.

As said previously, you must do a SWOT analysis in situations of crisis.

There is a way to communicate in crisis situations; it requires training and maturity. All the flaws we saw with the Nigerian police and other security agencies during the COVID-19 lockdown was due to insensitivity.

I have learnt a lot during the lockdown. I hope you will too from reading this post and others on this blog.

God Bless You.

Read the next lesson: Tribute To The Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria.


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