Actor, journalist… ‘strange deaths’ continue in Kano - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Actor, journalist… ‘strange deaths’ continue in Kano

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Nasidi Nuhu, former director, Bayero University Health Services; Yusuf Wakili Yola, a journalist; Ubale Ibrahim, Kannywood actor, are among the latest persons to have died in Kano in the last 24 hours.

Among the deaths recorded on Thursday are those of Aliyu Daneji, father of Sani Aliyu, national coordinator of the presidential task force; Khadijah Abdallah, wife of Kabiru Bayero, a former ambassador; and Tijjani Yarwa, a businessman based at Kwanar Jaba in Nassarawa local government area of Kano.

Kano has been hit by a wave of deaths since it recorded its index COVID-19 case in April.

Sabitu Shuaibu, deputy coordinator of the task force on COVID-19, had reportedly said 640 persons died in the state within one week.

The spike in deaths had made many residents panic, with rumours making the rounds that the deaths are from COVID-19 complications.

But the government dismissed the rumour, attributing the deaths to diabetes, malaria and hypertension.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a two-week lockdown and a probe of the deaths.

The Kano state government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) later decided on verbal autopsy to ascertain the cause of the unusual deaths.

Verbal autopsy is a method of gathering information about symptoms and circumstances that led to the death of an individual in order to determine the probable cause of death in cases where there was no medical record or formal medical attention given.

According to a survey, 41.3 percent of those who died in Kano during this period had fever — one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Yusuf Yau Gambo, a lecturer at the department of mathematics, Yusuf Maitama Sule University in Kano, carried out a “community-based survey on reported increased mortality in Kano state,” giving “possible explanations with data”.

Gambo, an applied mathematician and data analyst, stated that the report, which has received attention from Kano COVID-19 task force, is an attempt to provide timely intervention to understand the situation and to halt false narratives.

The survey is based on a very small sample size of 260 households from over 17 local government areas.

The respondents (130 families) reportedly said each of them witnessed more than five deaths in their vicinity in the two-week period before the report.

About 67 percent of the respondents said the strange deaths started from April 13 and continued till April 25 when the survey was concluded.

With 219 cases, Kano has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections in the country. 80 new cases were detected on Thursday.