One in five persons tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria is positive, according to official data.
Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) compiled here show that the country’s positive rate jumped from 4.2 percent to 21.3 percent in the last month.
What is COVID-19 positivity rate? It is the percentage of all coronavirus tests that are positive. In other words, the higher the positive tests, the higher the positivity rate.
As of December 3, only 4.2 percent of all coronavirus tests — or roughly one in 25 samples — in Nigeria returned positive.
But as the second wave sweeps across the country, so is the number of positive cases rising.
The WHO data show that the positive rate stood at 21.3 percent as of January 3, a steep rise in the number of positive diagnoses.
WHAT DOES A HIGH POSITIVITY RATE IMPLY?
When a country’s positivity rate for the coronavirus is high, experts believe this indicates how widespread the virus is in the community.
It could also mean that the number of total tests being carried out is too low.
According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “a higher percent positive suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet.
“A high percent positive means that more testing should probably be done—and it suggests that it is not a good time to relax restrictions aimed at reducing coronavirus transmission … a high percent positive can indicate it may be a good time to add restrictions to slow the spread of disease.”
Nigeria has had a chronic testing problem since the pandemic, with less than one million tests carried out so far, unlike South Africa that has tested over 6.7 million samples.
Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) situation reports show the country’s testing capacity still hovers between 35,000 and 45,000 weekly.