Tags Posts tagged with "Coronavirus"


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A 70-year-old American man who nearly died of coronavirus has been billed a heart-stopping $1.1 million for his hospital expenses.

Michael Flor was admitted to a hospital in the northwestern city on March 4, and stayed for 62 days, at one point, coming so close to death that nurses held up the phone so his wife and children could say goodbye, the Seattle Times reported Saturday.

But he recovered and was discharged on May 5 to the cheers of nursing staff only to receive a 181-page bill totalling $1,122,501.04 (₦433,532,351.67), he told the newspaper.

That includes $9,736 per day for the intensive care room, nearly $409,000 for its transformation into a sterile room for 42 days, $82,000 for the use of a ventilator for 29 days, and nearly $100,000 for two days when his prognosis was life-threatening.

Flor is covered by Medicare, a government insurance program for the elderly, and should not have to take out his wallet, according to the Times.

But in a country where health care is among the most expensive in the world and the idea of socializing it remains hugely controversial, he said he feels “guilty” knowing that taxpayers will bear much of the cost.

“It was a million bucks to save my life, and of course I’d say that’s money well-spent … But I also know I might be the only one saying that” the Times quoted him as saying.

A gigantic plan adopted by the US Congress to keep the American economy afloat through the coronavirus shutdowns includes a $100 million budget to compensate hospitals and private insurance companies that treated COVID-19 patients.

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Oyo State has recorded 68 new cases of COVID-19, the latest figures released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have revealed.

In the figures released on Monday night, the 68 cases in Oyo were among the new 573 recorded in 20 states.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the latest figure in Oyo has brought the total COVID-19 cases in the state to 575.

Gov. Seyi Makinde, had, on Monday directed all categories of workers to resume work on June 22 as well as the resumption of classes for primary six pupils, Junior Secondary School III and Senior Secondary School III students on June 29.

He also announced the relaxation of the curfew imposed on the state as the curfew will now run between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. against the earlier period of between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Makinde said that the decision was taken by the state COVID-19 task force headed by him and further announced opening up of Mosques and Churches, which were to operate at 25 per cent capacity.

Some residents have expressed fear over the upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the, especially with the decision of the government to reopen schools and offices.

An estimated 1.7 billion people — more than 20 percent of the world’s population — risk becoming severely infected with COVID-19 due to underlying health problems such as obesity and heart disease, analysis showed Tuesday.

The novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 420,000 people globally during the first wave of the pandemic, adversely effects patients suffering from co-morbidities.

A team of experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analysed global data sets of illnesses including diabetes, lung disease and HIV used these to estimate how many people are at heightened risk of serious COVID-19 infection.

They found that one in five people have at least one underlying health problem putting them in greater danger.

While not all of those would go on to develop severe symptoms if infected, the researchers said around 4 percent of the global population — around 350 million) would likely get sick enough to require hospital treatment.

“As countries move out of lockdown, governments are looking for ways to protect the most vulnerable from a virus that is still circulating,” said Andrew Clark, who contributed to the study.

“This might involve advising people with underlying conditions to adopt social distancing measures appropriate to their level of risk.”

Clark said the findings could help governments make decisions on who receives a COVID-19 vaccine first when one becomes available.

Consistent with other studies about COVID risk, the authors found that older people are in greater danger of getting seriously unwell from the virus.

Less than 5 percent of people aged under 20 have an underlying risk factor, compared with two thirds of over 70s.

Countries with younger populations have fewer people with at least one underlying condition, but risks vary globally, according to the analysis.

Small island states such as Fiji and Mauritius have among the highest rates of diabetes — a known COVID-19 risk factor — on Earth, for example.

And countries with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS, such as eSwatini and Lesotho, also need to be vigilant, said authors of the research published in The Lancet.

In Europe, more than 30 percent of people have one or more health conditions, it showed.

Writing in a linked comment, Nina Schwalbe from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said the study showed “it is time to evolve from a one-size-fits-all approach to one that centres on those most at risk.”

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The coronavirus, COVID-19 is the Pandemic currently ravaging the world. Being a Virus, treatment has been elusive. There have been various treatments that have been proposed including hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and there have been many pros and cons including endorsements by some individuals, groups and Regulating body.

My own candid opinion is that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine should not be considered as a first-line drug, at the moment. In the eighties and nineties, there were publications on fatalities from chloroquine therapy, including some experimental studies by my group in Lagos. These were few reports, which were probably not considered then to be significant, as some deaths may have been ascribed to the malaria infection rather than as a possible side effect of chloroquine. In some of the reports, the administration of chloroquine resulted in deaths in some children and adults, especially from injections. Some of these fatalities were probably accentuated by the fever. In many cases, death was by cardiac arrest. In our experiments, we showed that chloroquine caused a fall in blood pressure, electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities that can lead to cardiac arrest and death. It is possible that some fatalities were occurring with chloroquine administration then, but were not appreciated because it was so widely used for treating malaria and no one thought that it might be dangerous, which may be part of its side effects.

More recent studies in the year 2020 have indicated that hydroxychloroquine causes derangements of heart activity and rhythm-causing irregularities in a heartbeat which can be fatal and this may even be worsened by the use of Azithromycin. It is, therefore, being advocated that an ECG should accompany its use. This has led the American College of cardiologists to recommend the stopping of its use in COVID-19 patients. Recently on May 22, 2020, the Lancet published a report of a large-scale study, though now retracted, suggesting hydroxychloroquine may not be effective. However recent reports also doubt the usefulness of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19.

However one’s belief is that it is not wise, at the moment, to allow for the therapeutic use of hydroxychloroquine. There must be proper clinical and randomised drug trial and well-controlled to prove or disprove the effectiveness of the drug, which is not the case as at now. This assertion also applies to the use of the antiviral drug, Remdesvir. It is when we collate all these data that we can give a verdict. But for now, it is my humble suggestion that it is a drug that must be used with caution under supervision, not ‘Off the Counter’ pending the verdict from the several on-going clinical trials worldwide. The extent of the Covid-19 is a big worry and so we should hasten the trials of all the candidate therapy, also bearing in mind the need to provide safety guidelines while conducting the trials.

*Soga Sofola is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS) and Emeritus Professor of Physiology, College of Medicine University of Lagos

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a respiratory infection which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), causes fever, tiredness, sore throat and in severe cases, shortness of breath and respiratory difficulty, is the most challenging health issue the world has experienced in the past few decades.

WHO and other global public institutions have confirmed that the severity of COVID-19 infection is heavily linked with the overall state of the body’s immune system, a reason why people with pre-existing health challenges are said to be most vulnerable to the contagion.

It is, therefore, not surprising that since earlier this year when WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, people are now increasingly mindful of the state of their immune system.

For instance, the shopping lists of households across different parts of the world, including Nigeria, have revealed changes remarkably. CNN reported that the United States retail sales of orange juice jumped about 38 percent in the four weeks ending on March 28 when compared to the same period last year. Also, the Florida Department of Citrus disclosed that there was a spike in demand for 100% orange juice within the same period. The department forecasts a considerable increase in the short-term demand for the commodity.

Just like in the United States, there has been surplus demand for fruit juices in every other part of the world. During the five weeks the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun were on lockdown, shops and supermarkets had run out of orange fruit juice stock in the first two or three weeks of the restriction.

In fact, less than a week into the lockdown, my favorite 100% Real Orange Fruit Juice, which would have made the stay-at-home less boring for me, had rapidly been purchased off the shelves in Lagos. The scramble for unavailable raw fruits in the open markets started in earnest. That the restriction on movement cut off a large chunk of the supplies did not help matters.

This major spike in the demand for pure fruit juice, especially the orange category, could be attributed to the immune-boosting power of orange juice. Peter McCaffery, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen, said vitamin C, which is contained in orange juice, helps to strengthen the immune system to fight off bacteria and virus infections like the one the world is currently grappling with.

There are still relatively very few studies on the effect of nutrition on the human immune system. Yet, Harvard Medical School in its Harvard Health Publishing says deficiency in zinc, iron, copper, folic acid, Vitamin A, B6, C (which is contained in large quantity in fruit juice) and E have negative impacts on immune responses. Fruit juice contains the vital micronutrients needed to boost immunity.

However, fruit juice intake is just one of the ways to boost one’s immune system. There are several other things one can do to achieve this – adequate sleep, thorough cooking of meat, maintaining good hygiene, moderate intake of alcohol and regular exercise.

There are lots of herbal mixtures on the shelves of local stores with labels containing ‘support immunity’, ‘immune booster’ etc. So far, there is no evidence that such substances can strengthen immunity.

Regular exercise is an essential component of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular function, helps control body weight, removes toxins in the body, increases blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. The result of these is a strengthened immune system that protects the body against infections and diseases. Regular exercise is most valuable when one shuns junk food and sticks to healthy eating habits and balanced diet.

Individuals are often advised to ‘eat well’ as protection against the risk of infection. This advice has become even more relevant since the outbreak of COVID-19. What is missing in this counsel is the real definition of ‘eating well’. It is good to fill your stomach, but at best, that may only give you energy. What about ‘going green’?

Fruits are also an awesome option, but you also need to be sure you are not eating trouble. You really might not know how many hands must have touched the mango or apple you want to eat. Pure fruit juice contains the same nutritional value as raw fruit. So, if you can find a pack of trusted and healthily-processed 100% fruit juice on the store shelf, you will be making a smarter choice considering the prevailing health challenge.

*Malomo is a nutritionist