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COVID-19: Symptoms still evolving–Expert warns

Dr Seyi Oniyangi, Consultant Paediatrician and Former Chairperson Medical Advisory Committee, National Hospital Abuja, on Saturday said that symptoms of COVID-19 are still evolving and advised continued caution.

Oniyangi stated this in Ilorin during the 8th Kola Olafimihan, College of Health Sciences Endowed Lecture titled: “The Pandemic Now and Next Time- Matters Arising”.

According to the expert, what is known about COVID-19 is that symptoms range from zero (asymptomatic) to life-threatening presentations.

“Severe illness is more likely in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. These symptoms are most commonly respiratory with pneumonia-like illnesses, difficulty breathing, cough, and loss of smell among others,” she said.

She said that humanity was not out of the woods yet as COVID-19 could affect multiple organs in the body, cause clotting problems, and death in 60 years and above.

Oniyangi observed that despite the huge health care difference between Africa and the West, the African continent had the least number of cases of COVID -19.

She further said that although reasons are multiple including widespread under reporting, most African population are under 60 years old.

“Further more, in most rural African settings, our elderly live with us at home rather than in care facilities for the elderly where the disease has ravaged.

“African climate and geography which favour outdoor living where close contact and aerosol dissipation are reduced might decrease the chances of infection occurring,” she said.

The expert reiterated that infection prevention and control measures were among the most effective tools available to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus, both in health facilities and in the community.

She, therefore, urged the Federal Government to ensure efforts towards the actualisation of 60 per cent vaccination by 2023 and the global vaccine distribution mechanism COVAX goal of 20 per cent by 2022.

Oniyangi also advised government at all tiers to strengthen the health care sector, in particular, to cope more effectively with the pandemic.

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