On February 27, 2020, it was announced that an Italian citizen had tested positive to COVID-19 making it the first confirmed case in Nigeria.
From that day, the fear of COVID-19 snowballed into a palpable fear. Towards the end of March with more cases confirmed, millions of Nigerians were scared to leave their homes which led to the first lockdown announced by President Buhari in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.
The daily update by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) did little to abate the fears of Nigerians as the virus began to spread all over the country.
Towards the end of May, the scenario has drastically changed as many Nigerians are no longer invested in the fear of catching COVID-19 or the daily updates.
Why is this so? Here are five reasons why many Nigerians no longer care about coronavirus
- Emotional Fatigue – Many Nigerians are emotionally tired. The anxiety, fear and panic they felt at the beginning of the pandemic has been reduced to a dullness. The daily updates, constant breaking news and other news stories concerning COVID-19 have made them emotionally tired. For most Nigerians, they just want the world to be the way it was before the pandemic.
- Economy – Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy has taken a bad hit including Nigeria’s. It has been estimated that a lot of people will lose their jobs within this period. Let’s not also forget that Nigeria’s economy is facing a recession. With this bleak situation, a lot of Nigerians no longer care about COVID-19. They are going out to do business and secure their jobs in these unstable times.
- Lockdown Is Not A Viable Long Term Strategy – Just like in other parts of the world, people can’t be kept indoors for too long. Apart from the lockdown not being a viable strategy economically, it is hard to keep human beings locked up for too long. After two consecutive lockdowns, Nigerians have thrown caution to the wind and have come out of their homes to socialize with neighbours and go about their daily business.
- Low Infection Rate – At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, a lot of doomsday prophecies were shared online. Anonymous analysts and unconfirmed studies claimed the country would be badly hit by the virus. A viral voice note even said that 45 millions Nigerians would be infected by coronavirus and the death rate would rival that of Italy and Spain. Three months after the first reported case, Nigeria has had 7,839 cases and 226 deaths. In a nation with a population of approximately 200 million, the infection rate is still low for Nigerians to still be scared about COVID-19.
- Conspiracy Theories – The coronavirus pandemic has had its fair share of conspiracy theories from Bill Gates being the mastermind to the role of the 5G network in spreading the virus. These conspiracy theories have done little to convince already skeptical Nigerians that COVID-19 is not a hoax. Many still believe it is a scam by the government to access public funds. With each passing day and a low infection rate, more Nigerians are coming out to say coronavirus is a myth.