A message circulating on WhatsApp in Nigeria claims the managing director of the private Reddington hospital in Lagos, southwestern Nigeria, has warned that Nigeria is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19.
The message, online since May 2021, also warns people who have received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine not to be lulled “into a false sense of security”.“Please be aware that Covid is alive and well in Nigeria and we are experiencing what appears to be the beginning of a third wave,” it reads.
“The numbers of patients at our Covid Centre are increasing. We are also seeing Covid in-patients who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccination.”
But is this message really from the hospital, and is there evidence of a third Covid wave in Nigeria?
Reddington disowns message
On 20 May the hospital tweeted a response to the WhatsApp message. The hospital’s testing centres had “so FAR not seen cases that corroborate” the message, which “did not originate from Reddington Hospital”.
The hospital urged people to disregard the WhatsApp message, but also to get vaccinated and observe Covid safety protocols.
In April, the presidential steering committee on Covid-19 (PSC) warned Nigerians to prepare for a third wave.
The PSC also advised the federal government to close international airports for at least two weeks.
In June the PSC was reported as saying Nigeria could not afford a third wave.
The World Health Organization has warned that many African countries are not ready for a third wave.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has not said the country is experiencing a third wave.
By 4 June, the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria since Covid-19 reached the country was 166,730, with 2,117 deaths recorded.
The country has started giving the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. According to Oxford University’s Our World In Data website some 2.2 million Nigerians have received at least one dose of the vaccine by 4 June.
About 40% of eligible Nigerians will be vaccinated in 2021 and another 30% in 2022, to reach 70% vaccine coverage, according to the PSC.
The committee has also said people should continue to observe all the existing Covid-19 guidelines and precautions.