Yuletide is a festive period most Nigerians look forward to. It is known as a time to merry and a time to meet family and friends, but Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NDDC, has predicted that the country will likely see an increase in COVID-19 cases and a decrease in hospitalisation over the holiday season this year.
In an interview with The Punch Newspaper, the Director-General of the NDDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, claimed that the increase in travel over the holiday season might result in a rise in cases.
He said, “We are prepared to see that there may be a bump in cases just because of the increase in travel and the number of people returning. What we may not expect to see is an increasing number of people who are sick.”
The NCDC boss said vaccination and previous COVID-19 infections provided some degrees of immunity.
“The population has quite a bit of immunity due to vaccination, previous COVID-19 infection, or repeated COVID-19 infection. So. COVID-19 is not new. The Omicron is not new like it was in November (2021).
“If you look at our numbers, we haven’t lost people for a while. Even if every single death is a great disaster for people’s families or friends, it’s not anything like the Delta variant when we had a big problem,” he added.
Speaking further, he said the Omicron variant was the dominant strain in the country.
He said, “Omicron took over as the dominant variant in November and December last year, and it has refused to go anywhere. Other minor variants have emerged, but Omicron remains the most dominant.”
The latest data from the NCDC showed that there were 266,283 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 3,155 deaths, while the number of discharged cases stood at 259,640 as of November 18.