Since the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was confirmed in Wuhan, China late last year, the virus has exploded into a global pandemic as it has spread to 210 countries and territories. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University on 13th April 2020, the disease has killed about 115,244 people and infected 1,866,460 people worldwide. The pandemic has sent shockwaves throughout the global economy and billions of people into lockdown as health services struggle to manages case and contain further spread of the virus.
Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19 on the 25th of February 2020 however, as of April 12th, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 323 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 19 states with 85 recovered and 10 deaths. Against this background, NOIPolls conducted its second public opinion poll on COVID-19 to gauge the perception of Nigerians regarding awareness, lockdown order as well as ascertain the level of concern in the country. The first poll was conducted in the week commencing March 3rd, 2020 when Nigeria had only 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while this poll was conducted in the week of April 1st, 2020 when Nigeria had 174 confirmed cases.
The poll result revealed that almost all adult Nigerians (99 per cent) are aware of the outbreak of coronavirus disease in the country. Trend analysis shows a significant 15 per cent increase in the proportion of Nigerians who are aware of the outbreak when current results are compared with figures obtained in March. This is not surprising given that President Buhari, had on the 29th of March 2020, made a national broadcast on the country’s steps to contain the virus which included a lockdown of 3 states (FCT, Lagos and Ogun) for 14 days and some other states have independently issued lockdowns and restricted movements. Also, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) regularly sends text messages to alert the citizens on the need to stay safe by adopting safety measures provided by health advisories.
It is shocking to know at this stage that some Nigerians (6 per cent) consider the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria to be fake. During the survey, respondents in this category disclosed that they believe the outbreak is real in other countries but not in Nigeria, while some mentioned that they don’t believe it is real because they have not seen anybody infected by the virus in their states, others specified that it is propaganda and a means for the government to embezzle funds.
Similarly, it is outrageous to note that the poll revealed that 28 percent of adult Nigerians maintained that they are immune to the virus. Further probing of respondents who held this belief established that 42 percent of them held this belief mainly because they believe in God, while 32 percent believed they were immune because they observe proper hygiene which prevents them from contracting the virus amongst other reasons.
87 percent of Nigerians divulged that they are concerned that they may contract the virus. This signifies a substantial 24 percent increase in the proportion of adult Nigerians who are concerned that they might contract the virus when current results are compared to the figures obtained in early March 2020. In addition, out of the 13 percent who claimed that they are not concerned, 41 percent of them disclosed that they are not concerned because they have trust in God to protect them from the virus, while 39 percent said that they are not concerned because they have been observing preventive measures amongst other reasons.
With regards to perception on the lockdown orders, 77 percent of Nigerians stated that the decision of the Federal Government is appropriate. Most respondents think it is appropriate because they believe it is the best way to control the spread of the virus in the country. However, 18 percent consider the lockdown to be too extreme. While 65 percent of the respondents opined that the lockdown should be extended to other states, 35 percent did not think it should be extended to other states. Majority of the respondents in the South West (76 percent) are of the opinion that it should be extended to other states and this is understandable as many of the confirmed cases in Nigeria were in Lagos state.
With regards to concerns with the lockdown, 72 percent of respondents specified that they have concerns about the lockdown. These concerns included lack of food for the poor (40 percent), that people will die of hunger (21 percent), of economic hardship (13 percent) and the survival of those whose livelihood depends on daily hustling (9 percent) amongst other concerns mentioned.
Further findings showed that Nigerians rated the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) 6.97 out of a score of 10 in providing information or updates on COVID-19 and 6.36 in providing testing to those that need to be tested in the country. Similarly, the Federal Government was rated slightly above average (5.47 out of 10) in providing directives on how it plans to control the spread of the virus but was rated poorly in providing palliative measures to ensure that Nigerians follow its directives. It is therefore important for the government and well meaningful Nigerians to assist more citizens, especially the poor and those whose livelihood depends on daily income as mentioned in this survey, with more palliatives. This will ensure that Nigerians follow the stay at home directive and help control the spread of the virus in the country. These are some of the key findings from the COVID-19 poll conducted in the week commencing April 1st, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major global health crisis and the greatest challenge faced since World War II. The virus has spread to every continent with cases rising daily globally. Nations are battling to slow the spread of the virus by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travels and movement, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools. The pandemic moves like a wave, one that may crash on any country that is not able to contain the spread as it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
As of April 13th, 2020, the rate of infection globally has crossed the 1 million mark. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there are 1,866,460 people infected across the world with 115,244 death and remarkably, 433,915 recoveries. Currently, the USA is the country with the highest number of confirmed cases which stand at 560,433.
In Africa, 52 out of 54 countries have confirmed cases of COVID-19. The infection rate is about 15,209 confirmed cases, 794 deaths and 2,961 recoveries. In Nigeria as of 12th April 2020, a total of 323 confirmed cases has been recorded across 19 states with 10 deaths and 85 recoveries. Lagos states remains highest with 176 confirmed cases while Abuja has 56 confirmed cases. Against this background, NOIPolls conducted its second public opinion poll on COVID-19 to gauge the perception of Nigerians regarding awareness, lockdown order as well as ascertain the level of concern in the country.