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1 in 5 persons with respiratory symptoms have the virus – Abayomi

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says one in five of all people with respiratory symptoms in Lagos seems to be positive for COVID-19 pandemic.

Abayomi disclosed this when he appeared as a Guest on Arise Television “Morning Show” programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that the state was getting between 15 and 20 per cent positivity among people presenting with respiratory symptoms, fever, among other ailments at the state’s sample collection sites.

“We take the samples to our central testing facilities, and right now, we are getting between 15 and 20 per cent positivity among the people who are presenting with respiratory symptoms, fever or things like that.


“What we are seeing now is that one in five people in Lagos right now with respiratory sickness, is due to COVID-19.

“There are hundreds of other pathogens that cause the same thing.

“So, one in five of all people with respiratory symptoms in Lagos seems to be positive for COVID-19, and that’s not a reflection of what’s going on generally in the communities.

“I don’t want you to misrepresent that figure; it is not one in five of Lagos people, it is one in five of people who are unwell,” he said.


The commissioner maintained that the figures gave a good data metrix when compared to Europe and the U.S, and also when considering the death rates.

“Yes, there’s something different about Lagos, and the rest of Nigeria.

“Either, we are in a state of better preparedness or some environmental factors aiding us or something in our genetics that’s helping us slow the trend.

“But only time will tell; we are still in the beginning of our outbreak, and we don’t want to be prophets of doom,” Abayomi said.


According to him, we have to look at the data, analysed the trend and modelling, toward using the information to predict their future expectations for the virus.

“We haven’t reached our peak; we predict that would happen in a month or two, and with this gentle slopes, we are preparing for a number of cases based on our data analysis and modelling,” he said.

Responding to question on whether Lagos was jeopardising the health of her citizens for economic considerations, Abayomi said that the state was trying to find a balance in a public health crisis.

“The balance is to ensure that the strategies deployed doesn’t exert much pressure on the economy of the state.


“The economy is an integral part of the health of Nigerians; if you strip them of their livelihoods, you create a problem which we don’t want to create while solving another problem.

“People who are malnourished are more vulnerable to illnesses and viral infections; part of the public health strategies is to also have an economic and livelihood response,” Abayomi said.

He said that the state was still at the containment stage, ramping up its testing capacity and creating more isolation centres.

According to him, the state is working on converting some hotels to isolation centres for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The commissioner said that strategies deployed to contain the COVID-19 spread would be reviewed constantly to suit changing situation.

Abayomi noted that the dynamics of the curve was different globally, even in Nigeria, adding every state would have it’s own pattern with varying degrees of impact. (NAN)

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