The global picture is certainly frightening. Although Chinese president, Xi Jinping who visited Wuhan where the virus took roots has been reported as saying that Coronavirus has basically been contained, the summary in most reliable of the updates early today still borders on the frightening. The news from the USA is not particularly good. AP reports a total of 755 confirmed cases of the virus across the nation as at yesterday (Tuesday), based on figures from Johns Hopkins University, the leading medical research facility in the country where 26 Coronavirus-related deaths has been recorded.
Meanwhile, its oldest university, Harvard is asking students not to return to campus after its spring break and it all has to do with Coronavirus related concerns. The university is hoping to reduce spread by what AP calls moving to virtual teaching for both graduate and undergraduate classes in a bid to stop the spread of the novel corona across campus
The news agency quotes the university’s president, Larry Bacow, as saying in a message to faculty and students yesterday that “These past few weeks have been a powerful reminder of just how connected we are to one another – and how our choices today determine our options tomorrow,” .
Harvard’s moves are coming on the heels of Columbia University suspending classes for two days after an individual linked to the school was said to have been exposed to the virus, while Princeton University is moving classes online starting March 23.
Away from the US, French president, Emmanuel Macron has said that France is only at the beginning of its own outbreak, having already identified more than 1,400 cases.
Italy, a member of the 7/8 industrial powers, is on a lockdown. The list is endless. The global figure of cases of infection is now put at 116,000, over 4000 dead already and around 47,000 cases are considered active.
Against this background, the question some critical observers of the African scene are asking is why the continent is still the only region where the virus has not made a significant impact.
One of such observers put the issue this way: Interesting! I saw a map of the spread of the virus globally yesterday and the only region the virus has not made a significant impact is sub-Saharan Africa. My question is: has the virus not spread in Africa because of high temperatures in that region or because Africa is comparatively less connected to the rest of the world?
The observers and global health governance buff are saying this is worth probing, and whether the result would show how the continent is probably being saved from the virus “by the backwardness of our region”
Probing it is further argued on the basis of the fear that it could also be a case of lack of detection. The fear that it could be a case of lack of detection of hidden magnitude is anchored on how HIV was seen as a disease of those who practice homosexualism and, therefore, a problem for Western countries when it first emerged. However, it subsequently became a pandemic in Africa because it was not detected when it was ravaging Western societies.
Certainly, the present near absence of the Coronavirus cannot be as a result of great public and medical health homework in African countries where the medical infrastructure is, in most cases, either antiquated or dysfunctional.
So, what is it that is keeping Africa so far safe from Coronavirus? Might the virus be playing a game on the continent, luring it into a fatal future when everyone has become relaxed? Is the UNICEF cover graphic in this story all that is required for now or something more than that?
A worrisome thought in many quarters!