Mathematical Modeling and Analysis of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria
A novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, emerged from the Wuhan city of China at the end of 2019, causing devastating public health and socio-economic burden around the world. In the absence of a safe and effective vaccine or antiviral for use in humans, control and mitigation efforts against COVID-19 are focussed on using non-pharmaceutical interventions (aimed at reducing community transmission of COVID-19), such as social (physical)-distancing, community lockdown, use of face masks in public, isolation and contact tracing of confirmed cases and quarantine of people suspected of being exposed to COVID-19. We developed a mathematical model for understanding the transmission dynamics and control of COVID-19 in Nigeria, one of the main epicenters of COVID-19 in Africa. Rigorous analysis of the Kermack-McKendrick-type compart- mental epidemic model we developed, which takes the form of a deterministic system of nonlinear differential equations, reveal that the model has a continuum of disease-free equilibria which is locally-asymptotically stable whenever a certain epidemiological threshold, called the control reproduction (denoted by c), is less than unity. The epidemiological implication of this result is that the pandemic can be effectively controlled (or even elim- inated) in Nigeria if the control strategies implemented can bring (and maintain) the epidemiological threshold ( c) to a value less than unity. The model, which was parametrized using COVID-19 data published by Nige- ria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), was used to assess the community-wide impact of various control and mitigation strategies in the entire Nigerian nation, as well as in two states (Kano and Lagos) within the Nigerian federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT Abuja). It was shown that, for the worst-case scenario where social-distancing, lockdown and other community transmission reduction measures are not implemented, Nige- ria would have recorded a devastatingly high COVID-19 mortality by April 2021 (in hundreds of thousands). It was, however, shown that COVID-19 can be effectively controlled using social-distancing measures provided its effectiveness level is at least moderate. Although the use of face masks in the public can significantly reduce COVID-19 in Nigeria, its use as a sole intervention strategy may fail to lead to the realistic elimination of the dis- ease (since such elimination requires unrealistic high compliance in face mask usage in the public, in the range of 80% to 95%). COVID-19 elimination is feasible in both the entire Nigerian nation, and the States of Kano and Lagos, as well as the FCT, if the public face masks use strategy (using mask with moderate efficacy, and moderate compliance in its usage) is complemented with a social-distancing strategy. The lockdown measures implemented in Nigeria on March 30, 2020 need to be maintained for at least three to four months to lead to the effective containment of COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. Relaxing, or fully lifting, the lockdown measures sooner, in an effort to re-open the economy or the country, may trigger a deadly second wave of the pandemic.