Previously one of the most eagerly anticipated and effusively celebrated Christian event in the world; this year’s Easter is expected to be arguably the most muted in the 21st Century.
The reason is not far-fetched: Coronavirus.
The pandemic, which broke out in Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province; has spread around the world like the proverbial wildfire, incapacitating health care systems, bringing thriving global economies to their knees and leaving a trail of deaths.
Globally, and as at the time of filing this report; there have been a total of 1,780,903 cases of coronavirus. Active cases stood at 1,267,568. Of these, the death toll has hit 108,838 and rising still. Nevertheless, the number of persons who have recovered from the virus gives some consolation. The figures stood at 404,497 as at press time.
Among the countries that have had a hard time of it; China, Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom; remain among the quickest to come to mind. As a matter of fact, the United States yesterday topped Italy as the country with the highest death toll from the coronavirus scourge.
The US has a total of 20,071 deaths stemming from the virus. This is according to the most recent Johns Hopkins University data, 603 more than Italy.
The number of cumulative deaths in the US represent nearly 19 per cent of the 108,838 people who have died worldwide; since the coronavirus pandemic began, based on Johns Hopkins University data. At the beginning of March, Asia accounted for over 60 per cent of coronavirus-related deaths. Within a week, attention shifted to Europe, with Italy and Spain the new global hotspots.
Africa has had a less arduous time of it. However, there are fears of ongoing community transmission of the virus which may herald worst case scenarios; as seen in Italy and currently being experienced in the US.
Here in Nigeria, the case is not much different.
The coronavirus pandemic has maintained its upward curve; despite a Federal Government-enforced lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State; as well as other forms of restrictions in most of the states.
As Nigerians wake up today, Sunday April 12 to celebrate Easter, the virus has continued its rampage; with a total of 19 states now nursing at least one confirmed case. Kano, a bustling commercial city in Nigeria’s North, is the latest to join the list; with the country’s disease-fighting agency, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) making the disclosure on Saturday night.
Low-key celebrations expected the world over
Indeed, celebrations of Easter, which traditionally have been very boisterous and expressive affairs; filled with food, drinks, family visitations and other fun activities are bound to be mellow the world over; with Nigeria not an exception. For starters, there were no Easter vigil services to attend by Christian worshippers. Millions, the world over, will also have to be content with following services televised on TV this morning.
In fact, most of the state governments which had previously announced a relaxation/lifting of lockdowns/restrictions in their domains; have now reversed themselves, especially going by the fears expressed in many quarters; including in a widely circulated exclusive report by 1st News; which highlighted the potential of an explosion in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the light of the governors’ actions.
Consequently, Easter – a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and which is widely regarded; as even a more important event than the birth of Jesus celebrated at Christmas; will go down, when the history of the year 2020 is written; as one that was overshadowed by a global pandemic.