Alhaji U Njai: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 January 2021:
In Africa, curfews and lockdowns as measures to contain COVID-19 infections may probably help to spread the virus among the population rather than slow it down.
Based on my anthropological observations and review of the science around COVID-19, over 90 percent of infections happens indoors or inside confined spaces.
In Sierra Leone, based on observations in Freetown and other areas, people spend less time indoors even in their houses and more time outside.
The 45 markets I have worked with for Freetown City Council look heavily crowded but in terms of COVID-19 transmission, the risk is far lower than if that same population was to be found indoors.
This is likely so because the microdroplets that account for the lingering effects of COVID-19 infections are quickly dissipated in outdoor aerated conditions.
Now, what curfews and lockdowns essentially do is to force us inside the house, which for many of us are tiny with not enough space for social distancing.
The additional transportation rush to beat curfew, create crowded conditions in a more confined vehicle environment.
The net effect of these actions is that you unintentionally drive the spread of the infections than if people were allowed to stay outside more and the rush to take crowded vehicles from curfew is not there.
In fact, these actions of lockdowns and curfews may potentially be linked to the spread of antibodies and immunity we see from initial results in Siera Leone and other African countries.
It is likely that our outdoor cultural lifestyle in Africa may be one among other factors that account for the low incidence of infections despite the crowded nature of our societies.
Proper hand washing, wearing mask and avoiding crowded places are still highly essential to prevent getting infected or spreading the infections.