Meanwhile, the NCDC DG has said the country, like the rest of the world, will not return to life as it was before the coronavirus pandemic until 2021.
Ihekweazu, who spoke on Saturday on The Platform, an annual event of Covenant Christian Centre, explained that though mass gatherings could be difficult to avoid, it would be for the best.
According to him, it is a sacrifice “we will have to make as a people to get over this.”
He highlighted that members of the public would have to rethink how they conducted businesses, social gatherings such as weddings and religious gatherings in the short term.
The NCDC boss said, “We are faced with a difficult reality and we are not unique in this. Every country is, right now, looking at the same challenge and how to get us back to some level of normalcy.
“But the reality is that we are going to live with COVID-19 for the next year, at the very least. So, we have to start thinking about how to live safely with COVID-19.
“Some of the changes we will need to make are actually good things to have forever. With the emphasis on hand washing, (use of) sanitisers and respiratory hygiene, my goal as the leader of the NCDC is that we continue doing this forever.”
He added that the habits would also prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also many other diseases.
“I hope we don’t go back, like we did post-Ebola, to an era of not washing our hands. Who would want that? So, we really want some of these measures to go on,” Ihekweazu said.
While fielding a question on the daily fight against COVID-19, the infectious diseases expert hinted that the worst had yet to come. “We really are at the beginning of this outbreak globally,” he said.
Ihekweazu added, “The point where we will assess how many people died in Nigeria versus everywhere else — it may be a year or two when we look back to the evolution of this outbreak. You can see that the outbreak comes in waves. We are not sure where we are on our own trajectory at the moment. It’s early days to reach conclusions around mortality.”
The NCDC DG noted that his team and many others across the country were working hard, adding that the state government and their care facilities were providing care for all those infected.