By: Christian Ita
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Gov. Ayade.
I shuddered in disbelief watching Dr.Reuben Abati on Arise TV struggling to discredit Governor Ben Ayade’s position on wearing of nose masks in relation to the observance of Social Distancing.
Abati, in his usual timidity, a well worn trademark he has become famous for, offered no scientific or medical basis to rebut what Governor Ayade said on Social Distancing.
Rather, he was out to regal his audience with his blissful ignorance on what constitutes Social Distancing.
For proper education of Abati and his likes, what Ayade, a Professor of Microbiology of 16 years standing, said was that where a population without a single case of COVID 19 infection is well protected by wearing mask, the chances of the transmission of the virus is almost zero.
Since the virus is transmitted through coughing or sneezing, anyone wearing a mask is safeguarded as the mucus is trapped within the walls of the mask.
In the event that the virus escapes through the mask it loses velocity and extent which the virus can travel. This is position is the fulcrum of Stokes Law.
It therefore, follows that since the virus is trapped within the wall of the mask, it makes Social Distancing superfluous.
This is perhaps explains why the Chinese experts brought into the country by the government to help contain the spread of COVID-19 didn’t observe any Social Distancing. All members of the Chinese visiting team wore masks and clustered together.
Sweden is one of the few countries in Europe that is neither observing Social Distancing nor on Lockdown due to the virus.
The Scandinavian country, according to John Hopkins University, has of April 9, 2020, recorded 793 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The number of deaths this country has recorded pales into insignificance when compared to fatality figures from countries where tens of thousands have died, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, which are also under complete Lockdown and strict observance of Social Distancing regulations.
Indeed, only on Thursday alone, the UK recorded about 2000 deaths while the daily fatality figures in Spain and Italy are close to 1000 in each of these countries.
Czech Republic is another European country that has been able to contain the spread of the virus, relying solely on masks and without observing Social Distancing.
The figures from these countries clearly justify the position of Professor Ayade that where a population is well protected through the use of nose mask, then the imposition of Social Distancing becomes superfluous.
This is not to say that the government of Cross River state is not encouraging voluntary observance Social Distancing rules.
It is against this backdrop that Abati’s abject outing brings to mind the event of two weeks ago when governor Ayade made it mandatory for every resident of Cross River to wear mask as a preventive measure against contracting COVID 19.
Some intellectual lilliputians had gone on social media to pooh pooh the directive.
Some others made noise as to why the nose mask made from Cross River state Garment factory which were distributed for free were made of clothing material.
This set of people were put to shame when the World Health Organisation, WHO, which had hitherto opposed the use of mask on the ground that it offers no protection, made a volte- face, asking that people living in Coronavirus endemic area should wear mask.
The United States taskforce led by VP Mike Pence, along with President Donald Trump was to follow suit by advising Americans to use face mask made of Clothing materials as well as scars.
So, clearly, Dr.Abati was out of his depth when set out to deconstruct governor Ayade on the issue, without offering any medical, scientific or empirical basis.
It is not a happenstance that Cross River which is surrounded by states with instances of COVID-19 and which shares borders with Cameroon with hundreds of COVID-19 infections, remains Coronavirus free.
It means therefore, that there is something Governor Ayade is doing right.
So Abati should limit himself to his forte, literature and social commentary. Displaying such crash ignorance on television can be avoided if he stays off issues he knows little or nothing about.
Chief Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory was once left to wonder aloud if there was a correlation between physical ugliness of the mouth and foul verbiage.
Certainly, Abati’s resort to uncouth language over an issue that requires intellectual discourse, tends to answer Gani’s question in the affirmative.