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CORONAVIRUS: The sound of a talking drum from Wuhan-China to Nigeria

CORONAVIRUS: The sound of a talking drum from Wuhan-China to Nigeria

By:Dr Audu Lucky Emmanuel
Humans developed a wireless communication system long before cell phones were invented! In a time and place where roads didn’t exist, men went into deep in the forest to hunt and women walked long distances to gardens. They needed a way to be informed if something went wrong in town. Drums were used to send detailed messages from village to village much faster than a person could walk or ride a horse. The sound of talking drums could reach up to 4 to 5 miles. These drums have hollow chambers and long, narrow openings that resonate when they are struck. They are made out of hollow logs. The larger the log, the louder the sound would be. The drummer would communicate through phrases and pauses, and low tones referred to males while high tones referred to females. Some have called this a way to gossip, or learn information through the grapevine. When these sounds were neglected at any point, communities were lost, and lands were conquered! A tale to describe the implications of neglecting these sounds were documented by the few that survived or by neighbors who hid the sounds from beyond. The Joint World Health Organization (WHO)-China mission in February 2020 brought this news to the world “On 30th December 2019, three bronchoalveolar lavage samples were collected from a patient with pneumonia of unknown etiology – a surveillance definition established following the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003 – in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Real-time PCR (RT-PCR) assays on these samples were positive for pan-Betacoronavirus. Using Illumina and nanopore sequencing, the whole genome sequences of the virus were acquired. Bioinformatic analyses indicated that the virus had features typical of the coronavirus family and belonged to the Betacoronavirus 2B lineage. Alignment of the full-length genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus and other available genomes of Betacoronavirus showed the closest relationship was with the bat SARS-like coronavirus strain BatCov RaTG13, identity 96%”. Clear and apt described the findings that triggered a global speed to create diagnostic kits, treatments and vaccines to fight the 2020 pandemic that will be called Covid-19 eventually. China acted swiftly in speed that was unprecedented to contain and reduce the morbidity and mortality figures of this pandemic. Though some steps were considered draconian at the onset, it worked! Total lockdown (Isolation, quarantine), handwashing, use of alcohol based sanitizers, use of face mask, social distancing, recalling retired healthcare workers, engaging medical reserve lists, engaging military supports to manage logistics, enforcing strict rules on gatherings, air travels and frontline health workers giving their all to save lives– China began to record declining cases of Covid-19 in the epicenter (Wuhan) and other parts of the country. All across the globe, nations began to analyze ‘the sound of this drum’ and how the spread is affecting the everyday lives of citizens, stock markets, productions, food supply, health care systems, health care products, travels, gatherings (social, religious etc.) and how we view fellow humans who would innocently sneeze or cough from other irritants.
Alas, the spread had a new epicenter in Europe and increasing fatalities in Italy bringing one of the finest health care systems in the world to its breaking point, crematoriums overwhelmed, Iran reporting cases, rapid spread into Europe, United States of America and Africa recording pockets of cases with fewer fatalities. Dr. Tedros DG WHO, would repeatedly ‘play the drum’ to raise concerns about ‘weak health systems getting badly hit by the pandemic’ and soon he would declare to the planet ‘Covid-19 is coming’. Weak? No! We are not weak! We are ready for Coronavirus; we are ready for Covid-19! These phrases consoled the communities in Nigeria, so much so, that it sent the people to sleep! Health workers across their ranks have embarked on strike actions in the past to decry the state of their health facilities—Did we change our health workers, or did we replace our hospitals with recent ones? The men in the forest during hunting have ignored the sound of the talking drum from Wuhan, China. The children at home in Nigeria now identify this sound as a call for action, a call to prepare for an outbreak of covid-19, a call to apply the ‘draconian’ measures of our Chinese brothers as replicated across Europe and America— A loud cry from the forest calls out; Achimugu is gone! He has joined our ancestors; the invasion is real! We are exposed! We heard the drum; we heard the voice of Dr. Tedros, ignored the Arts of China, we ignored the repeated cry from Lombardy, Italy, saying help us! Oh, king and elders of the land, read the scripts from Wuhan, China and save our people in Nigeria.
Dr. Audu Lucky Emmanuel, a Public Health Expert written from Maiduguri, Borno State- Nigeria.
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