COVID-19 Delta variant kills two in Oyo State
Two residents of Oyo State that contracted the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus are dead.
State Incident Manager and Coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre, Dr Olabode Ladipo, disclosed this while Speaking with newsmen in Ibadan, on Monday.
Asked if contact tracing of the two cases had begun, he said one contact got thus far came back positive and had been isolated at the state facility.
He, however, assured that the state was putting in efforts to ensure that contacts of the deceased persons are followed up and would isolate those whose tests come back positive.
He noted that the Delta variant was about 90 per cent more transmissible, faster to spread than the original COVID-19 virus found in Wuhan, China, and charged residents of the state to reactivate all COVID-19 protocols to stem further spread of the Delta variant.
Presently, he said the state had about five patients of COVID-19 at the state Infectious Diseases Centre, Olodo, Ibadan.
Ladipo said: “We are a freely mobile group of people and you have to understand that people have travelled all over the world, they still come back and one way or the other, one may have slipped through the net. You need to understand that because of the way we associate with our relatives that come in from other climes, the contact may have helped transmit the virus within the people.
“Two of the cases are deceased. But contact tracing is ongoing. We have gotten one of the contacts in isolation; one of the contacts came positive and is currently in isolation in the state facility.
“But, let me assure you that every form of effort is being put to ensure that all the contacts of everyone they have seen in the last two or three weeks are followed up and anyone positive, we will ensure that isolation is done.
“The Delta variant is the variant that was giving quite a lot of people concern to countries around the world. It was that that gave a lot of infections and fatalities in India and as such, a lot of people are worried about the prevalence and transmissibility.
“It has been found that this variant of the virus is far more transmissible than the strain that was found in England some months back.
“And that was said to be 80 to 90 per cent more transmissible than the original virus that was initially seen in Wuhan, China. Now we are having that variant which is faster to spread and has some levels of severity in terms of infection.”
“What is needed is that level of commitment, support from individuals across our communities. People need to learn to understand that the initial extra-therapeutic measures that were put in place, those guidelines, the issues of social distancing, use of facemask, regular handwashing should be revisited because when we did do that, it stemmed the tide and perhaps if we do this now, we will be able to stem this wave, as well.
“I foresee a situation that if people actually adhere to those guidelines spelt out, we might be able to stem that tide.”
On the tendency for those vaccinated to still contract the virus, Ladipo explained that though the vaccines boost immunity, recipients can still get infected.
He added that the vaccine does not prevent being infected but only makes a subsequent infection less severe.
He noted that herd immunity could also not be conferred on the human population because just about one per cent of the population across states has been vaccinated.
“Yes, vaccines have been given but you need to understand that in Oyo state, just like in any other state of the federation, just about one per cent of the population has been vaccinated.
“That leaves the large chunk that is there. In Oyo state, about 90,000 have been vaccinated in a state where the population is about 8.9million.
“So, it has not reached the threshold to be able to confer some herd immunity on the population. I would implore everyone in Oyo state to go back to our use of facemask, regular hand washing and physical distancing as much as possible.
“I have taken the vaccines and completed the dose. The interesting thing about it is that a lot of those rumours have been debunked.
“What I will need to say is that the vaccines, once given, boosts the recipient’s immunity and the immunity is meant to fight infection. It does not prevent the infection but makes the subsequent disease less severe.
“So people that have taken the vaccines can still be infected but they will not have overtly severe sicknesses that will follow.
“So, even those vaccinated, like I am, will still want to use facemasks, sanitisers, wash hands regularly and still try to keep physical distance,” Ladipo said.
Further responding, he described the proposition of imposition of lockdown, as a result of the new variant, as too early, though he noted that such a decision was up to the government.
“I think it is too early in the day to start thinking of lockdowns. The financial stress of lockdown within communities and people is dire enough and that is something that will be considered at the highest level of government,” Ladipo said.
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