Editor’s note: A senior lecturer at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Amaso Jack, proposes a series of realistic economic strategies that the Nigerian government can adopt in minimizing the effects of COVID-19 in the already distressed Nigerian economy.
“This virus has three dimensions. One is mild, two moderate, three severe. …… this is going to be a mild attack, which means you will have about 2000 infections, some casualties that probability is there, if it goes to moderate, then you will have 50,000 infections, if it goes too severe you are talking about 500,000 infections.” – Bismarck Rewane
Three-level diminishing economic power a threat to social distancing and social isolation.
Reality on ground
The economic staying power is just not available for people to comply with social distancing and social isolation, this is the reality in developing nations.
Sanwo-Olu’s Lagos plan
“For seven days at the first instance, we are trying to extend some of our shopping channels by using some of our open spaces in some of our closed schools, …meaning that we want to open up more markets for people to have more access to food and essentials,” Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state.
Critical realistic observation
People need ‘economic capacity’ to buy and this requires economic activities.
Crisis of conflict: Social distancing and social isolation vs economic reality
Staying home is the easiest way to decelerate the speed of the spread of COVID-19 but the economic means for staying at home is just not there.
Three levels of staying power
Compliance with social distancing and social isolation on a timespan scale may be split into 3, based on reserves of money, meal and materials of the average Nigerian.
A week….after a week money meals and materials would be exhausted.
The question: What next?
A day: For many more who earn daily money for meals probably excluding materials is for the day.
Half a day: For many others, it is a tragedy of a few hours!
The question: What next?
Staying power backup crisis will most likely come into play after the first two days, should the government get hard on enforcement, the response would most likely be underground economic activities
By Bismarck Rewane’s analysis based on the present realities on ground, we are experiencing the lower ranks of a mild attack.
Our goal should be:
1. To contain our level of the pandemic as a mild attack.
2. To prevent an escalation to the level of moderate, with 50,000 infections.
3. To forbid a catalyst explosion to a severe attack of 500,000 infections,
Scenarios of a possible escalation
The initial stay at home order by the Lagos state government is for an initial period of 7 days.
After that what next?
What tactical response measures have been put in place in Lagos in anticipation of the crowd surge?
Would the crowd surge create the domino effect of South Korea’s patient 31 in social places of gathering like banks, malls etc
Patient 31 in South Korea went to church on February 9 and 16, before her test, that confirmed her positive, she had a buffet in a hotel. She is estimated to be responsible for 60% of all cases in South Korea.
2 Attrition scenario: Possible scenarios of escalation
This is probably the most dangerous method of escalation. COVID-19 came into Nigeria essentially by the selfishness of the elite, who came back with it and because they “are above the law,” it sneaked through. Should one driver, cleaner, security man in close contact with any of these people transport it to an area of dense human low income, neighbourhood; the person to person spread could possibly escalate a slide from
Mild to moderate to severe.
What makes it attrition is the rate and speed of spread. If the person to person spread is slow on only one geographic front on one front, it would be attrition, but if not we would have a cluster bomb on our hands.
If it is an attrition scenario, what response systems and facilities are in place?
3. Cluster bomb scenarios
A cluster bomb is a mother bomb that releases several different “bomblets,” expanding the radius of the “sphere of effective destruction.”
This would be the most tragic
COVID-19 is a dumb cluster bomb and not a smart bomb! A smart bomb takes out a defined target a dumb bomb takes out everything!
….Worst case scenario proactive planning!
1. Planning based on economic realities
2. Planning based on those who don’t even believe there is any such thing as COVID-19.
3. Planning based on those who agree that there is a COVID-19 but are nonchalant and indifferent to it.
4. Planning based Berlin wall effect
5. Planning based on attrition scenario
6. Planning based on cluster bomb scenario
7. Planning based on a week’s compliance to social separation.
8. Planning based on a day’s compliance to social separation.
9. Planning based on low-cost proactive ideas
Prayer within social isolation is imperative, for even Jesus said:
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6 KJV
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