Director-General of Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako, says three factors are responsible for the continued spike in cases of people who test positive for COVID-19 in Lagos State.
“They are, scale-up in testing capacity, community spread and residents staying in a high prevalence area of the disease,” he said.
Speaking exclusively with PUNCH, Salako explained that one of the three reasons for the alarming rate of COVID-19 cases in Lagos was as a result of the state’s house-to-house screening.
“Even people who are asymptomatic, who didn’t know that they have coronavirus, are getting tested.
“This has increased the rate of infections. Clearly, we now have an increased rate of community spread, which I will say is the second factor.
“It started with the importation of COVID-19, which was limited to those with travel history and close contacts.
“Since the rate of virus infectivity is very high, one person can infect two to four persons. While we spent time assessing people with recent travel history and potential contacts, community spread has started,” he said.
Salako, a Nephrologist, added that the third possible factor was a recent addition by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, which states that any individual living in a COVID-19 prevalence area with symptoms of the virus, whether he has travel history or not, should get tested.
“This new addition expanded the case definition. But it must be said that the Lagos home-to-home testing campaign has further exposed the level of community spread in the State.
“These are the reasons more COVID-19 cases are getting detected daily in Lagos,” he noted.
On why Eti Osa, Lagos Mainland and Ikeja are the leading local governments with prevalence of COVID-19, the NIMR boss said it was not surprising, because they were the major hubs where the bulk of those with symptoms of the disease was first detected.
“Despite the fact that it is the same test we run in all local governments, Eti Osa, which comprises Lekki, VGC and others, started the trend.
“Eti Osa is a highbrow area where most of the affluent in Lagos and those who travel frequently live. Therefore, it is not surprising that the initial cases we had, aside from the index, were mostly from there.
“Lagos Mainland and Ikeja are an extension of such highbrow areas. All these contributed to the rise of cases in those areas.
“I believe these features are the reason COVID-19 was initially regarded as the travellers-and-contacts disease.
“Unfortunately, it is families, friends and close contacts in different communities who are now spreading the virus,” he observed.
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