May 25 2020. By Mayowa Tijani
Cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, have at least doubled almost every week since the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria back in February, TheCable can report.
In 13 weeks, Nigeria has gone from one case to 7,526 cases — one of the best performers on case jump among its peers across the world. Brazil has gone from one to 347,398 in about the same time, while South Africa has recorded 22,583 cases in 12 weeks.
Bangladesh and Pakistan, countries within Nigeria’s population bracket, have recorded 33,610 and 54,601 cases respectively, since their index cases were recorded in March 2020.
While Nigeria seems to have performed better in official numbers than most of its peers, its coronavirus cases have grown by almost 100 percent almost every week since the outbreak.
For the first four weeks, coronavirus deaths were at zero, with most of the first 40 cases going on to recover from the disease.
From the fifth week when the country recorded its first death, death rate has grown from less than 1% of the cases to about an average of three percent.
Death has since followed the same trajectory as recorded cases, growing at about 100 percent every week.
60,000 CASES BY JUNE?
An analysis of the figures by TheCable shows that Nigeria could hit 60,000 cases by the end of June if the most consistent pace of increase is maintained.
Every four weeks from week 1, cases have increased by at least a factor of 10, jumping from one case in the first week to 22 in the fourth week, and from 22 in the fourth week to 542 in the eighth week.
From 542 in week 8, the number of cases jumped by over another factor of 10 to 5,621 by week 12. If this trajectory is anything to go by, cases are expected to jump to over 56,000 in another four weeks.
This will only be possible if tests are increasing at the same rate as seen in the past eight weeks. Going by the numbers, Nigeria will need to test at least 300,000 people to maintain its current testing pace.
120,000 CASES IN LAGOS BY JULY?
Akin Abayomi, the commissioner for health in Lagos state, ealier said COVID-19 cases in the state may explode to 120,000 between July and August.
Abayomi said Lagos was recording a rapid incline in cases, which is expected to peak sometime in July-August.
“Just a month ago, on April 7, we saw 10 cases per day. Two weeks later it was 32, then 70 cases. We are now seeing above 100 cases per day. This shows our graph is moving in a gentle incline upwards,” he had said, showing a pattern that is now seen on the national aggregate.
If Lagos were to record 120,000 cases by July-August, the entire country will probably peak at over 300,000 at about the same time.
THERE’S GOOD NEWS IN THE DETAIL
In the last three days, Kano state, one of the predicted hotspots for COVID-19, has recorded only 21 cases in the last three days, showing a decline.
While insiders suggest numerous samples in Kano have not been totally tested, the numbers from the state over the weekend show that there might indeed be a decline.
Across the nation at large, there has been a decrease in the spike in cases on a percentage basis. From week 10 to 13, the rate of increase in cases has dropped below 100 percent, showing a steady decline in cases.
This suggests that the number of cases may actually be dropping nationwide or tests are not increasing as rapidly as they should.
But with over 10,000 tests in the last week, the number of tests have increased, relative to previous weeks.
It may be too soon to conclude, but the data suggests that Nigeria would not record a factor of 10 increase in the next four weeks after week 12.