How is Nigeria Faring in the Fight Against COVID-19

Since the first case was reported on February 28, 2020, Nigeria looked like it had it was keeping both the virus and the infection rate under control, seeing that it would take 10 days for a second case to be recorded and another 8 days for the third case to be recorded, however as of the initial version this article 56 days later — April 24, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 873 cases, and all hope seems to be lost. Where did it all go wrong?

Using this “medium”, I aim to show you how severe the growth of infection is in Nigeria, not to bring about fear but to prompt both the Government and especially individuals to purposely contribute to curbing the spread of the virus.

Let’s Go

1. Growth in the number of new cases

Given it takes on average 5–6 days for symptoms to show and 14 days in some cases, assuming there are no asymptomatic cases (which at the global level stands at 50%), Nigeria only started testing people with symptoms — remember it takes 5–6 days for symptoms to show, and only those that had come in contact with someone returning from a country that had been hit with the virus.

A better take at understanding the growth of the number of infections is a weekly view.

Viewing this growth of cases at a weekly view shows a country that had it under control initially till things ballooned, see below a chart showing the number of new cases recorded daily compared with a weekly view

Daily new cases since the first case (Feb 28)
New cases recorded weekly since the first case

From the above weekly recorded cases, it shows that the number of cases has been growing wildly, this is most likely due to lack of testing at the onset of the virus, which led to poor reporting of the situation of the virus in Nigeria.

A look at the trend of the new cases in Nigeria, we’ve also been growing exponentially as other cases in Nigeria.

Infection trend 55 days after the first case

2. Growth Factor

The growth factor is the factor by which a quantity multiplies itself over time. The formula used is every day’s new cases / new cases on the previous day.

A growth factor above 1 indicates an increase, whereas one which remains between 0 and 1 it is a sign of decline, with the quantity eventually becoming zero, whereas a growth factor constantly above 1 could signal exponential growth.

Where is Nigeria’s growth factor? 0.7

That’s what looking at the cases daily would show you, but this is grossly misleading as we are not testing enough.

Below see the growth factor reported daily vs the growth factor reported weekly

Growth factor viewed daily shows it be around 0.8–1
Growth factor viewed daily; shows it to be just less than 1.5

~1.5 for a growth factor is a sign of exponential growth

3. How do we compare against other countries w.r.t Growth Factor

For this aspect I selected 10 countries to compare against, grouping them into 2.

The first group, Best Performing Countries (countries that have been able to slow down the growth of the virus), for this I selected South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia.

The second group, Worst Hit Countries (countries that have been hit the worst by the virus), this includes, the United States, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and France

In comparing against our Growth Factor against theirs, we will be able to see which countries we are performing similar to.

Versus the Best Performing:

Nigeria’s Growth Factor compared against the best performing countries

From the above chart, we see how countries such as Vietnam and Australia, and New Zealand have been able to bring the growth factor below 1. Nigeria seems a bit off from what those countries are doing.

Versus the Worst Hit:

Nigeria’s Growth Factor compared against the countries hit worst by the virus

From the above chart, we see how even Italy and the United States have been able to reduce growth curve. Though each of these countries has recorded almost 100x time more than Nigeria, with the United States recording over 1000x times more cases than Nigeria, a growth factor this high indicates that Nigeria is not close to flattening the curve.

To conclude, I am not making an attempt to predict the growth of the virus, or show that we could reach the condition of the worst hit countries, though these countries recorded their first cases almost a month before ours and some news sources have said we are just behind these countries and could fare even worse than they have.

But considering the stage, Nigeria is, we still have a long way to go before that happens and if we start acting right, we can bring this under control.

To see the code and the notebook used in creating the charts used in this article, peak the github page. Feel free to hit me up, if you need help understanding anything.

I would like to specially thank Simeon Fadahunsi for pushing to write this article.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter 😁, stay safe ❤️

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