As seen on Twitter, the week which used to be divided into weekdays and weekend is now split into Big weekend and Small weekend. Hope you enjoy this small weekend.
As you keep track of what’s happening, remember:
Now, the Stories for the Week.
A case against confirmed cases and the Nigerian Government’s response
With 305 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Nigeria is seeing a gradual ‘increase’ in the spread rate and this is how the Nigerian government is responding to it:
Flexible lockdown of its major 3 commercial cities - Lagos, Ogun, Abuja. Flexible. Market stalls operating every 2 days from 10am to 2pm. A debatable solution to curb the spread of the virus but also ensure people don’t die of starvation.
Stimulus Package: 1.1 trillion ($2.7 billion) stimulus package to the critical sectors - N100 million to Healthcare and 1 trillion to Manufacturing sector as Manufacturing accounts for 70% of Nigeria’s imports.
Asking for More money: Nigeria has recently announced its intent to borrow $6.9 billion (₦2.5 trillion) from the following lenders:
$3.4 billion - International Monetary Bank (IMF)
$2.5 billion - World Bank
$1 billion - African Development Bank (AfDB)
Nigeria already pays for its debt with half of its revenue, so while it can’t ‘afford’ this, it can’t do without extra money.
Petrol Price: Reducing petrol from N145 to N123 per litre to cushion the economic effect.
Social program: Giving a monthly stipend of N20,000 ($53) for the next 4 months to 10,695,360 persons - the most vulnerable and poorest persons - for the next four months.
Over the next few months, we’d see what effects these initiatives would have on the economy while also watching the spread rate.
Something to note about confirmed cases
As per FiveThirtyEight, “A country where the case count is increasing because it’s doing more testing, for instance, might actually be getting its epidemic under control. Alternatively, in a country where the reported number of new cases is declining, the situation could actually be getting worse, either because its system is too overwhelmed to do adequate testing or because it’s ramping down on testing for PR reasons.”
Just something to take note of when you hear that cases are rising or falling. As seen on the Nigeria Center for Disease Control site, only slightly above 5,000 persons have been tested in a country of ~200 million persons.
Progress over 200 years
With a lot of the news focused on lives lost, it’s helpful to be reminded that nearly half of the children born used to die before their fifth birthday. It’s now less than 4%. The gap is narrowing between higher and lower-income countries, too. Billions of lives saved.
How? Better living standards. Better medicine. Better nutrition. Better sanitation. They all improve our chances of survival into adulthood.
Airbnb stocks up for the rainy day
Gray Camper/ Unsplash
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb opened its doors to a $1billion investment (Debt & Equity) from two private investment firms, Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners.
What does this imply?
While the leisure company has been making less money due to the coronavirus outbreak that has prompted travellers to stay home.
With $2billion locked up in a bank and a $1 billion overdraft, Airbnb is not exactly broke. The funding is to support its ongoing effort to direct attention to new products that will suit the constant evolution of how people work.
Also, it could use the extra cash to buy up competitors who might be struggling right now.
Finally, Airbnb was set to go public this year, raising more money from the stock exchange. However, with the share price of most listed companies being lower than it was a few months ago due to the pandemic, Airbnb might be better off avoiding going public till share prices are back to its normal range.
Democracy and Privacy amidst a Pandemic
Governments around the world have taken steps - steps which in normal times would be unacceptable - in the form of policies and legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a list of some of the regulations that have been passed.
Singapore: In January, its government publicly posted details of coronavirus patients to inform other people of infected patients and potentially infected locations. More recently it launched TraceTogether, an app that checks if potential carriers of the virus have been in contact with other people.
Israel: Authorized tracking citizens using cellphone data to ensure isolation orders are followed.
US: Spoke with Google and Facebook about the possibility of using mobile phone location data for public surveillance of the virus.
Thailand, Philippines and Jordan: These countries have published decrees which stops reporting of false or distorted information that may cause fear or mislead people.
South Korea: Using credit card records, location data, CCTV data to create a system where confirmed cases can be tracked.
What this means
With cases and deaths rising rapidly, quick action has to be taken by leaders who want to curtail the health and economic effects of the virus in their respective countries. However, these actions may have a huge impact on the privacy of the common citizen, for example in South Korea, where internet mobs exploited public patient data to harass people.
The onus is on the government to signify how long data will be collected and if it will ever be deleted. Another key question is whether the data collection will continue after the pandemic subsides. By asking these questions, the world leaders can create a balance between keeping the rights of the people and pursuing the needs of society.
Worth Reading 📚
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
— Blaise Pascal
Written by Daniel Adeyemi, Bright Azuh and Damilola Amusan.