Corona is already the word of the year 2020 with everyone aware of what is happening around the world and how it affects them and their business. Globally compulsory countrywide lock downs are going into effect. The extent of economic upheaval will be hard to determine but the most important concern on people’s minds is their health and survival. A lot has been said about the state of Ghana’s healthcare system but there are 5 reasons I believe Ghana will prevail over the virus.
1: The Youth The youthful population that Ghana has will help mitigate the effect of Covid-19. Comparing Italy with Ghana, the median age of Italy is 47.3 years while in Ghana it is 21.5 years (Worldometers). 56% of Ghana’s population in under the age of 26 years old compared to just 23% in the case of Italy (CIA FACTBOOK).
If you look at the mortality rates based on worldometers.com stats (Table 1 below), it shows that cases that lead to fatality occur predominately in older generations with 80 year and over and 70–79-year-olds accounting for 14% and 8% of the fatalities respectively. Age groups 39 years and below have just a 0.2% likelihood to succumb to the virus and result in fatality. Therefore, the youthful population has a strong chance of survival with a low mortality rate.
2: The Weather There is a global consensus that viruses generally do not fare well in hot weather. Research funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (1) has shown that there is a decline in the spread of covid-19 when there is increased temperature and higher relative humidity. Comparing Italy with Ghana once again, the temperature and humidity in Italy is 20 degrees Celsius and 55% humidity compared to 30 degrees Celsius and 70%+ humidity in Ghana. Those factors should aid in reducing the spread of the virus as it decreases the amount of time the virus can survive outside of an infected person.
Furthermore, Vitamin D supports the immune system greatly. Ghana’s sunshine will be giving an additional boost to build the immune system and tackle the virus. It goes without saying sunshine is not enough; healthy eating, lots of Vitamin C and staying hydrated is also a must.
3: The Experience Ghana has been on the brink of major viral outbreaks before. Ebola was on its doorsteps just a few years ago and it has seen cholera outbreaks across the country in the past. Screening at points of entry for fever are already features that have been put in place to reduce the number of potential cases coming in. (Unfortunately, with the incubation period of the virus, some people who did not have a fever on arrival tested positive later). Ghana’s health care system has been bracing and preparing for a case like this. This is now no longer a drill but the real deal.
4: The Response From the President’s 2nd address to the nation about Corona, overnight schools were closed, place of worship suspending services for four weeks and funerals and weddings which are a major part of culture were put on hold or only a handful of people allowed to attend. These rapid actions and understanding from the affected entities will help curb the spread especially while the numbers of reported cases are still very low. Currently, there are 11 confirmed cases. In Italy, the first case was on the 31st of January and lock down only came into place on the 8th of March. Although Ghana is not under total lock down quick decisive action was taken. These radical measures will control the spread and protect the population by flatting the curve which will enable the medical teams to be able to treat the patients in a timely manner, not strain medical resources and limited to total spread of the infection.
5: The Seriousness Most important of all, is the level of seriousness that top levels of government to hawkers selling on the street are taking this threat. Hawkers selling goods at busy intersections have gone from selling sunglasses and chocolates to selling sanitizers and face masks. Shops such as Citydia have automated hand sanitizer dispensers as soon as you walk in and security at banks like Ecobank apart from wearing gloves also have a sanitizer spray that they make you use before you enter the building. Churches have switched to going online and on radio and news is being brought to the people in English and local languages.
Everyone is reacting quickly to new norms that have to be applied.
In a BBC article they stressed to key things that correlate with the cases in China:
“about 80% of those who died were over the age of 60 and 75% of them had pre-existing health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
All this being said just because Ghana have a few potentially positive factors does not mean that Corona should be taken lightly. Protection must be used, social isolation must be practise, digital currency like mobile money should be the preferred payment method.
Everyone should strive to eat healthy, have peace of mind and pray.
May God bless you and my God bless our home land Ghana.
Appendix AGE — DEATH RATE 80+ years old — 14.8% 70–79 years old — 8.0% 60–69 years old — 3.6% 50–59 years old — 1.3% 40–49 years old — 0.4% 30–39 years old — 0.2% 20–29 years old — 0.2% 10–19 years old — 0.2% Table 1: Age range and death rates from confirmed Corona related deaths
Sources: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/it.html
(1) High Temperature and High Humidity Reduce the Transmission of COVID-19
J. Wang, K. Tang, K. Feng, W. Lv https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3551767&download=yes
19 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2020 Last revised: 17 Mar 2020
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