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Doctors Warn Covid Will Become Endemic and People Need to Learn to Live With it

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Doctors Warn Covid Will Become Endemic and People Need to Learn to Live With it

A growing chorus of physicians and public health officials have warned that even with the mass rollout of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, the disease may become endemic.

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel and the World Health Organization’s Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Program Dr. Mike Ryan have all said in recent weeks that the coronavirus may never go away.

To date, more than 107 million people worldwide have contracted Covid-19, with 2.36 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, had warned the virus appeared to be on course to become endemic late last year. He reaffirmed his position earlier this week during a webinar for think tank Chatham House.

“I think if you speak with most epidemiologists and most public health workers, they would say today that they believe this disease will become endemic, at least in the short term and most likely in the long term,” he said.

Heymann is the chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards and led the health agency’s infectious disease unit during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.

He cautioned it was not yet possible to be sure of the virus’s destiny since its outcome depends on many unknown factors.

“Right now, the emphasis is on saving lives, which it should be, and on making sure that hospitals are not overburdened with Covid patients — and this will be possible moving forward,” Heymann said, citing the mass rollout of Covid vaccines.

‘Need to learn lessons from 2020’

The mass delivery of Covid vaccines started in many high-income countries almost two months ago and has since been gathering pace, but the mass immunization of populations will take time.

To be sure, some low-income countries are still yet to receive a single dose of a vaccine to protect people most at risk from the coronavirus.

A report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit last month projected the bulk of the adult population of advanced economies would be vaccinated by the middle of next year. In contrast, however, this timeline extends to early 2023 for many middle-income countries and even as far out as 2024 for some low-income countries.

It underscores the scale of the challenge to bring the pandemic under control around the world.

“Covid-19 is an endemic human infection. The scientific reality is that, with so many people infected worldwide, the virus will continue to mutate,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome and a member of the UK.’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

“Living with this virus does not, however, mean we cannot control it. We need to learn lessons from 2020 and act swiftly. Every day counts,” he added.

Balancing our living with endemic diseases

“I think it is good to put this in context and think about the other infectious diseases that are endemic today,” Heymann said during an online event on Wednesday, when asked whether policymakers should be mindful of other endemic diseases in responding to the Covid pandemic.

He cited tuberculosis and HIV, as well as four endemic coronaviruses that are known to cause the common cold.

“We have learned to live with all of these infections, we’ve learned how to do our own risk assessments. We have got vaccines for some, we have therapeutics for others, we have diagnostic tests that can help us all do a better job of living with these infections.”

“There are a couple of unknowns that make it very difficult for political leaders and public health leaders to make decisions as to what would be the best strategies, inducing the fact that we don’t completely understand ‘long Covid’ and its impact or its occurrence after even very minor infections,” he continued.

“So, it is not a matter of this being a special disease. This is one of many that we will have to balance our living with and understand how to deal with it as we do influenza, as we do with other infections,” Heymann said.

The term “long Covid” refers to patients suffering from prolonged illness after initially contracting the virus, with symptoms including shortness of breath, migraines and chronic fatigue.

Public discourse on the pandemic has largely focused on those with a severe or fatal illness, whereas ongoing medical problems as a result of the virus are often either underappreciated or misunderstood.

Last month, the largest global study of long Covid to date found that many of those suffering with the ongoing illness after infection with the virus had been unable to return to work at full capacity six months later.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Education

Federal Government Shortlists 5,000 for Oil and Gas Sector Overseas Scholarships

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The Federal Government has shortlisted 5,000 candidates for its prestigious overseas scholarships.

The announcement was made through the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in Abuja.

Bolanle Agboola, the Head of the Overseas Scholarship Scheme at PTDF, disclosed that the selection process for the 2024 scholarships had reached its final stage.

She revealed that the shortlisted candidates had participated in rigorous examinations across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

“The purpose of this initiative is to empower Nigerians with high-tech skills required in the oil and gas industry,” Agboola stated. “The selection process was conducted simultaneously in various universities across the country.”

Highlighting the importance of the scholarships, Agboola emphasized the need for Nigeria to indigenize its oil and gas sector.

“Our target is to select the best candidates for the overseas scholarships,” she said. “This initiative aligns with the government’s goal of building local capacity in the oil and gas industry.”

When asked about the number of participants to be selected, Agboola explained that each state of the federation would receive an equal allocation of successful candidates based on the budget for the year.

However, she refrained from disclosing the exact budget allocated for the scholarship scheme.

Agboola defended the decision to send scholars abroad, citing the high-tech nature of the oil and gas industry and the need for hands-on experience with cutting-edge equipment and technology.

She also mentioned PTDF’s in-country scholarship program, where participants are trained in Nigeria.

The overseas scholarships will be offered in various universities in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Malaysia, providing Nigerian scholars with access to world-class education and training in the oil and gas sector.

With this initiative, the Federal Government aims to equip Nigerian professionals with the expertise needed to drive innovation and development in the nation’s vital oil and gas industry, ensuring its sustainability and competitiveness on the global stage.

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Travel

Safety Concerns: UK CAA Reports Air Peace to Nigerian Aviation Authority

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The United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) has raised concerns over alleged safety violations by Nigerian carrier Air Peace.

This revelation comes merely three months after Air Peace commenced its Lagos-London route.

According to reports, the UK CAA forwarded two mandatory occurrence reports to Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), highlighting alleged breaches of aviation safety regulations by Air Peace.

These reports, titled ‘United Kingdom SAFA Ramp Inspection Report’ and ‘NATS Management System Safety Report,’ highlighted specific operational irregularities observed by UK aviation inspectors.

The crux of the issue revolves around the operational approval of Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) functions and it is critical for ensuring the safe operation of aircraft.

The UK CAA purportedly flagged the absence of a mounting device for EFB, charging points, or backup battery, raising concerns about navigational practices onboard Air Peace flights.

In response to the UK CAA’s communication, the NCAA swiftly initiated correspondence with Air Peace, seeking clarification on the reported safety lapses.

The letter, signed by the NCAA General Manager of Operations, Capt. O.O. Lawani, underscored the urgency of addressing the alleged infractions to uphold aviation safety standards.

Air Peace, which recently expanded its operations to London Gatwick from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, operates under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Nigeria and the UK.

The airline’s foray into international routes had been hailed as a significant milestone in Nigeria’s aviation industry, promising enhanced connectivity and convenience for travelers.

However, the safety concerns raised by the UK CAA cast a shadow over Air Peace’s international operations, prompting calls for swift remedial action and heightened regulatory oversight.

As stakeholders await Air Peace’s response to the allegations, questions loom over the potential impact on the airline’s reputation and operational integrity.

Efforts to reach Air Peace’s spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, for comment were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

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Aliko Dangote Calls for Visa Reforms Across Africa to Boost Investment

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Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group and Africa’s wealthiest individual, has embarked on a campaign for reforms in visa policies across the continent.

His impassioned plea comes as he addresses the pressing obstacles these policies pose to investors and business leaders looking to navigate the African landscape.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote shared his personal frustrations while expressing unwavering optimism for Africa’s future.

He took the opportunity to shed light on the challenges he has encountered due to restrictive and inconsistent visa policies that hinder intra-African travel and investment.

“As an investor, as somebody who already wants to make Africa great, I have to now apply for 35 different visas on my passport and I really don’t have time to go and drop my passport in embassies to get a visa. But you see, the most annoying thing is that if you are treating everybody the same, then I can understand but I can assure you, some people don’t need 35 visas,” lamented Dangote.

Highlighting the urgency of the matter, Dangote revealed that even Nigeria’s influential political figures are voicing their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

He disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has expressed similar concerns and is committed to initiating reforms to streamline visa processes into Nigeria.

“On Monday, there was a cabinet meeting, President Tinubu was not happy about this same visa issue and I can assure you that in the next couple of weeks, you will see a massive reform in terms of visas going into Nigeria,” assured Dangote.

Dangote’s clarion call for visa reforms resonates with growing sentiments across the continent as African countries recognize the imperative of fostering a conducive environment for investment and economic growth.

Restrictive visa policies not only deter potential investors but also impede the free movement of talent and resources vital for Africa’s development agenda.

Expressing his unwavering commitment to Africa’s potential, Dangote said, “I am very excited because the growth going forward in the future is Africa. We have whatever it takes to make Africa great and that is why I am not only putting in my own money, I am putting my soul and life in Africa to make it great.”

Dangote likened Africa to a scratch card, symbolizing its untapped potential. “Nothing is impossible in Africa, it is like a scratch card. Unless you scratch it, you won’t know what number it is or be able to use it,” he remarked, underscoring the need for concerted efforts to unlock Africa’s vast opportunities.

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