Accra, Feb. 2, GNA – Professor Peter Twumasi, formerly of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, has deduced that recent rise in COVID-19 infections in Ghana is of no scientific novelty.
He said the recent increment of the COVID-19 infections had been forecasted a long time ago; as like all winter flu diseases, Coronavirus infection was expected to intensify with the advent winter as temperature drops.
Prof. Twumasi asserted that harmattan experienced in Africa during winter also induces colder temperatures as dust in the atmosphere reduces the sun’s radiation, this is why most countries currently dealing with the low temperatures, were recording high infections and deaths related to COVID-19.
He alleged that at the beginning of the outbreak, the panic created by the scare of COVID-19 patients being quarantined, and refusal of government to return bodies of COVID-19 victims, discouraged families of severely ill relatives from receiving treatments especially at government hospitals or clinics.
He said the restoration of confidence to seek medical services in hospitals and clinics, only in recent time due to intensive education and fight against stigmatization, is significantly contributing to increasing hospital visits as well as increasing records of positive COVID-19 cases.
Prof. Twumasi who is currently the Director General of the National Sports Authority explained in a paper to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday called on Ghanaians not to panic.
“We are therefore not to be scared as a nation by these reported rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, but rather to ensure that adequate provisions are made to strengthen our health system to treat all patients with other diseases which tend to make individuals more susceptible to severe forms of COVID-19.
“Alternatively, programmes such as healthy eating, and the use of vitamin and mineral supplements including Vitamin C should be encouraged among communities,” Prof. Twumasi stated.
On effectiveness of face mask and hand washing to the prevention of COVID-19; Prof Twumasi explained that although the spread of respiratory viruses can be reduced by the wearing of face masks, the practice is less effective in our community settings.
He said: “The highest efficacy one can derive from wearing of a standard facemask in the open is 70 per cent. Frighteningly, over 90 per cent of face masks available on the Ghanaian markets have mesh work pore sizes several times bigger than the diameter of the virus.
“A simple light microscopic examination can reveal these observations. These masks are thus not full proof from the prevention of Coronavirus infection aside the wrong wearing and contamination of the face masks by the users”.
Prof. Twumasi noted that, “we cannot overlook the psychological comfort and security that comes with the mere wearing of even an ineffective face mask.
“Hand washing practice is also best for short-term management of infectious diseases like the corona virus. However, this too is not a full proof”.
He said like all viral diseases that persist in their hosts, a long-term treatment is achieved by vaccination.
“Natural vaccination could occur to induce herd immunity when an individual recovers from first exposure to a naturally occurring pathogen such as viruses.
“The individual develops antibodies for protection against any future infections of the same or similar pathogen. Alternatively and more conventionally, a part or a weakened form of a virus (pathogen) could be injected into a healthy individual to induce antibodies for long-term protection against the pathogen”.
Prof. Twumasi explained that many individuals who have unknowingly become exposed to the Coronavirus may have better chance of dealing with the virus than those who remain uninfected.
He said Ghana’s situation is no different although health authorities or independent researchers have not embarked upon any general screening exercises in the Ghanaian populations to establish the actual coronavirus infection prevalence.
He alleged that limited studies and testing of persons sampled from the population using either antibodies or PCR methods have shown high prevalence of COVID-19 among the population.
“Fortunately, most of these people carrying the virus and therefore tested Positive or those who have already cleared the virus from their bodies leaving antibodies signatures, were generally asymptomatic.
“A case in point is the recent testing of about 30 randomly sampled individuals with all testing Positive for the Coronavirus except one person. The good news is that all these COVI-19 Positive individuals cleared the virus within a week, and without manifestation of the disease symptoms,” Prof. Twumasi noted.