Without a doubt, the word, ‘COVID-19’ is familiar to everyone except infants. The pandemic unarguably shook the world and humbled superpowers as equals to third-world countries. Notably, coronavirus enabled poor and developing countries to also boldly ban citizens and travelers from rich, developed nations including USA, United Kingdom and Switzerland, amongst others, from entry. This was hitherto unbelievable. Above all, the pandemic unimaginably makes health experts – medical practitioners, pharmacists, professors in health fields to submit to security guards with little knowledge on health for temperature checks. Indeed, Covid-19 shook the world.
Coronavirus disease was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and initially reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31, 2019. Amidst the outbreak, the world witnessed all manners of predicaments – confusions, conspiracy theories and fake news against information from WHO and other relevant bodies.In the United States, the then president, Donald Trump spearheaded the conspiracy theories for selfish interests and arrogantly went to extreme by stopping WHO funding. Excitingly, Joe Biden reviewed it immediately he was inaugurated. As part of conspiracies, a Cameroonian US-based medical doctor, Stella Immanuel masqueraded with misleading information against WHO prescriptions.
In Nigeria, many accepted the conspiracy theories despite the fact that there was no scientific proof. The fallacies against Covid-19 include: “Covid-19 vaccine causes infertility in women: Covid-19 vaccine alters one’s genetic codes, 5G network spreads coronavirus, drinking alcohol reduces the risk of infection, Covid-19 vaccines imbed ‘mark-of-the-beast: real vaccines take years to produce, Covid-19 vaccines attract severe side-effects and allergic reactions etc. These are all misconceptions; baseless and misleading. First, technology advancement affects speed and produces results faster than centuries ago. Today, the Covid-19 vaccines are facing similar rejections other vaccines prior to them like vaccines for chickenpox, measles, poliomyelitis also faced. From history, many, particularly Africans, rejected chickenpox vaccines as poison then which led to many deaths of children before it gained acceptability.
On 5th Generation (5G) network, scientists have always deflated the allegations that it causes coronavirus. In fact, it should be noted that 5G is not the end in the expansion series. It began from G1network and will continue to advance by innovations of scientists. Some countries are already gearing up for 6th Generation network due to advanced benefits. The world is speedily becoming a global village, and it is only realistic by innovations in technology by scientists. And from record, Covid-19 has significantly plagued countries with little or no 5G network coverage including Iran.
Instructively, politicians and religious preachers that are neither medical expert, nor trained in health discipline have no basis to dabble into health matters. Supernatural healing is an act of divinity and doesn’t make a non-medical practitioner to become an authority in health matters. Supernatural healing is without doubt real, but doesn’t deny the existence of ailments. Besides, it is still through medical tests – science that healings whether conventional or supernatural are confirmed.
Remarkably, Pastor Paul Enenche, Senior pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre who is also a medical doctor by training believes in supernatural healings and always holds weekly healing services with testimonies, yet encouraged his congregation to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures and protocols. Apart from compliance to regulations by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), his church donated medical equipment and safety items worth millions of naira to the government towards combating the pandemic. In addition, his church distributed trailer loads of food items including bags of rice, toiletries, clothes to the downtrodden including non-members and non-Christians during the lockdown. There’s no better way to preach the gospel if it must be ‘good-news’.
By publicly complying with outlined preventive measures, Enenche aptly understands that people have different levels of faith, and that encouraging them to get vaccinated against the infection doesn’t undermine the supremacy of the supernatural. The Glory Dome is one of the largest Christian auditoriums in the world presently with the capacity of 100,000 seats. Yet, when a lockdown was in place, the church cooperated, operated through house-fellowships. In other words, despite Enenche’s faith in supernatural healings, the clergic understands that preventive measures put in place by health institutions should be adhered to in the interest of the general public.
In WHO statistics, from January 3, 2020, a total of 226,236,577 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 4,654,548 deaths from its complications were recorded globally as at 4.18pm on September 16, 2021. In Nigeria, on September 17, 2021, a total of 200,957 confirmed cases, 2,647 deaths and 188,817 discharged cases were recorded. These figures affirm that COVID-19 is not a myth but real. The fact remains that from January 2020 to date, the world has recorded unprecedented deaths and sicknesses with COVID-19 symptoms. Sadly, these deaths didn’t take place far from those rebuffing the outbreak. In fact, many medical doctors were infected; some died, some survived. Emphatically, information from WHO is superior to individual-opinions of any medical practitioner anywhere on health issues. This must be noted. Interestingly, COVID vaccines are administered free.
To conspiracy theorists, they must note that the blood of those that died following their misleading claims is on their heads. What is expected from leaders particularly religious preachers is to pray against the pandemic and support governments by encouraging their followers to adhere to prescribed preventive measures. Other preachers like the RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye deserve commendation for unyielding supports in the fight against the pandemic. To mislead gullible individuals or mischievously castigate health experts working round the clock to save lives is injudicious. Like Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher said, “Prevention is better than cure”. So, take protective measures. Covid-19 remains deadly.
- Umegboro, a public affairs analyst and social crusader sent this piece.
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