It is a chunk of loose-fitting layered disposable material referred to as face masks. But it’s also a private protecting gear (PPE) really helpful by well being specialists as a method of stopping the transmission of the lethal Coronavirus in any other case referred to as Covid-19.
Health specialists say it protects the wearer from publicity to the virus by human droplets, notably the saliva. However, increasingly more residents of Lagos are shunning the usage of face masks despite threats by the state authorities to sanction defaulters.
At the graduation of the lockdown impelled by the outbreak of Covid-19 on March 30, there have been solely 131 confirmed instances of Covid-19 nationwide. But the determine has jumped to greater than 30,000 nationwide with Lagos State alone recording near 12,000.
At a number of markets and neighbourhoods visited by The Nation, it was noticed that customers, motorists and commuters exhibited nearly full disregard for face masks, elevating doubts about the potential of discount within the variety of contaminated individuals within the state.
Why they shunned face masks
In an alarming twist to the development, some Lagos residents who spoke with our correspondent stated they don’t put on face masks as a result of they don’t imagine within the existence of Covid-19 within the nation.
A grocery vendor at Dopemu Market, Agege, who recognized herself merely as Mrs Adams, stated ”there’s nothing like coronavirus in Lagos. That is why I don’t cowl my face with masks.
She stated: “I now not use face masks as a result of I don’t imagine there’s Coronavirus within the nation. I’m saying this in opposition to the revelation by many individuals purportedly contaminated who got here out of isolation and stated they had been handled with anti-malaria medication.
“The authorities too haven’t denied utilizing malaria medication to deal with Covid-19 sufferers. Even the Governor of Bauchi State just lately directed that contaminated individuals needs to be administered with malaria medication.
“So, whether it is malaria they’re treating as Covid-19 for causes greatest identified to the authorities, why do I must panic and put on masks round when malaria has all the time been with us?”
Femi Lasisi, a printer based mostly in Olorunshogo space of Mushin, a Lagos suburb, defined that he solely goes out in a face masks to keep away from being harassed by policemen who’ve been mandated to deal with offenders.
“I’ve by no means believed in covid19 as a result of it’s a hoax,” he stated.
“The illness could be prevalent in different nations, however it’s definitely not in Nigeria as we’re being compelled to imagine.
“I solely transfer round with a face masks in my hand to keep away from being harassed or arrested by the police for flouting the order relating to obligatory sporting of face masks.”
At Ile Epo Market in Agbado/Oke Odo Local Council Development Area, some merchants had been seen with out face masks as they interacted with prospects.
In spite of the cluster of consumers he needed to haggle with on the market, a meat vendor recognized as Kamaldeen wore no face masks. Asked why he didn’t, he stated Coronavirus outbreak was nothing however a gimmick by some political leaders to siphon public funds.
Kamaldeen stated: “Since the start of the so referred to as pandemic within the nation, the index instances haven’t ceased to extend whereas many people who will not be sporting face masks haven’t fallen sick for sooner or later.
“To me, subsequently, the illness will not be in existence in Nigeria. Our political leaders are simply making an attempt to latch on to it as a way to siphon public funds.”
Our correspondent, who visited Ogba, Ojota and Agege axis of the state, additionally noticed so many individuals strolling about with out their face masks.
A commuter, Mrs Daniella Nwandu, instructed The Nation that she would moderately observe the protocol of washing her fingers than cowl her face with a masks.
She stated: “The masks will choke me if I put on it. I favor washing my fingers or making use of sanitisers to sporting a face masks. I don’t wish to choke myself-o. Moreover, I haven’t seen anybody the so referred to as Covid-19 has killed.
“Those we’re made to imagine had been victims of Covid-19 may need died from totally different ailments completely. The Federal Government ought to simply cease deceiving us and permit the resumption of social actions within the nation.”
In part of Ojota the place chemical retailers and roadside markets are positioned, many merchants and prospects had been seen going about their transactions with out adherence to the usage of face masks and in whole disregard for the foundations of social distancing.
A person, who claimed to have come to the market from the Ikotun a part of Alimosho Local Government Area, insisted that the face masks order issued by each the federal and state governments was solely a smokescreen aimed toward masking up their inadequacies.
He stated: “Asking individuals to put on face masks is simply an try by our leaders to divert consideration away from themselves. The reality stays that what they’re diagnosing individuals with is acute malaria, judging by what we’ve learn in a bit of the media.
“Two weeks in the past, I had malaria fever and visited a basic hospital in my neighbourhood solely to be instructed to go to an isolation centre for Covid-19 sufferers. The medicals on the hospital refused to offer me correct care regardless of my insistence that I needs to be attended to.
“Instead of going to isolation centre, I made a decision to go to a personal hospital the place I used to be identified with acute malaria and I’m now hale and hearty. Therefore, I don’t suppose the figures being bandied because the variety of contaminated individuals are appropriate.
“It is because of this that I’ve not been too happy with sporting the face masks. As you possibly can see, I’m not sporting a face masks now, however I’ve a small bottle of sanitiser in my pocket.”
An itinerant ice cream vendor, Alfred Jebose, who spoke with our correspondent in Iyana Ipaja space of Lagos, stated he doesn’t imagine that face masking is the answer to the unfold of the virus.
He stated: “You heard it when some individuals stated they coated their faces with masks and utilized different essential precautions however nonetheless examined constructive for Covid-19. It implies that face masking will not be a treatment for the illness in any respect.
“If extreme malaria is what the western nations have contrived as Covid-19, undoubtedly a face masks can not stop it. That is why I neither imagine in its existence nor put on a face masks as safety measure.
“I can not cowl my face with any masks, as a result of it could have an effect on my respiration. In reality, it alters my inhaling such a manner that it turns into troublesome for me to breathe.
Medical practitioners converse on relevance of face masks
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says it will be important that Nigerians put on face masks in public locations as a way to defend themselves and others from contracting Covid-19.
Ehanire, who issued the recommendation throughout a latest day by day Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing, stated the usage of face masks is one among greatest types of private safety in opposition to the virus.
He stated: An further manner thought to guard in opposition to corona an infection is the usage of face masks, and it contains improvised and selfmade face masks or face masking with handkerchiefs or scarves.
“A layered cotton material over the mouth and nostril guards in opposition to particle emission throughout laughter, exclamation or loud speak and should supply mutual safety to wearers, particularly the place social distancing might not be achieved, or the place shut contact might not be prevented with certainty, resembling markets.
“However, individuals with out the N95 or surgical masks might make use of home-made face masks, handkerchiefs or scarves. But they should be correctly washed with heat water and ironed to kill any virus that will have settled on the masks.”
The National Chairman of Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Madu, just lately backed face masking, noting that the human face is a vital a part of the physique that’s uncovered to respiratory tract an infection from coronavirus.
“Just just like the widespread chilly virus or catarrh, this virus positive aspects entry into the physique primarily by the respiratory system.
“The nostril kinds the start of the respiratory tract and goes by the throat all the way down to the wind pipe (trachea) after which into the lungs.
“The nostril, mouth, eyes and even the ears are all related, and no matter positive aspects entry into them can lastly discover its manner into the lungs.
“Thus, touching the face with contaminated fingers can simply result in respiratory problem and a extreme type of pneumonia referred to as COVID-19,” he stated
Also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, stated the sporting of face masks protects individuals round an contaminated individual.
“There is a few theoretical proof that the sporting of masks might certainly cut back the quantity of droplets within the atmosphere from the individual that is contaminated with COVID-19, and that’s the reason why we’re starting to outline the technique of face masks for the final neighborhood,” he stated.