1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Scholars have come to the understanding that coronaviruses are zoonotic viruses responsible for mild respiratory tract infections and fatal pneumonia in humans.(Su S, Wong G, et al, 2016) Human coronaviruses (HCoV) were first identified in the 1960s in the noses of patients with common cold.(Felman A 2020). The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention identified seven coronaviruses that can affect people as: 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus), MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome), SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome) and SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19).
The novel coronavirus is a current pandemic of coronavirus family that has ravaged the whole world. It is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans (WHO 2020). It was first identified in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province of China in December, 2019. It was initially from animal sources; however, (it) subsequently spread between people. (WHO 2020). Early genetic analysis of the outbreak revealed that the virus was similar to, but distinct from, SARS-CoV, but the closest genetic similarity was found in a coronavirus that had been isolated from bats.
The symptoms of the novel coronavirus have been variously described to include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, and diarrhea (WHO 2020). But cases of severe infection can result in pneumonia, kidney failure and death. However, the genetic epidemiology suggests that from the beginning of December, 2019, when the first cases were retrospectively traced to Wuhan, the spread of the infection was entirely driven by human-to-human transmission. This human-to-human transmission of the virus is primarily thought to occur through close contacts with infected persons’ respiratory droplets usually generated by sneezing and coughing. Hence the virus gained assess to many countries of the world with Nigeria inclusive. The incidence of COVID-19 grew steadily in Nigeria, moving from an imported case and elitist pattern to community transmission. This arose the need to get all citizens apprised of the life threatening presence of the virus in Nigeria. However this was only achieved through news medias which includes the Newspapers.
The Newspaper is a powerful instrument with which to influence health behaviours linked to viral transmission and infection. It it been used to convey targeted messages about events which includes health risks and raise health awareness. During the Covid-19 outbreak and its spread to Nigeria, newspapers played a remarkable role just like other news medias as it conveyed messages which provided information about factors such as disease outbreaks, symptoms, modes of transmission, fatality rates, treatment centres, and prevention methods. It is therefore upon this ground that this study is pointed towards examining the the role of Newspaper in curbing the spread of corona virus in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The outbreak of Covid-19 in Nigeria was an unexpected trauma, however it could have been more uncontrollable in the absence of News medias which plays the of disseminating and educating the masses about the outbreak.
The primary purpose of Newspaper campaigns during disease outbreaks is to elicit population behavioral change, which leads to disease prevention and control. However, the effectiveness of such campaigns in achieving this goal depends on message precision and clarity, the degree of funding, the environment, use of appropriate language and the audience’s ability to assess the news. However, during the period of Covid-19 epidemic and its expansion to Nigeria, newspapers, like other news outlets, played an important role in disseminating knowledge about disease outbreaks, signs, modes of transmission, fatality rates, recovery centers, and preventive methods. Therefore it is notable the these significant roles contributed towards the management of Covid-19 spread in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study is channeled towards assessing the significant role played by Newspapers in curbing the spread of Corona virus in Nigeria. In achieve this, the following objectives emerged;
1. Examine if Nigeria News papers were relevant during the Covid-19 outbreak.
2. Investigate if newspapers played a significant role in disseminating information about the unprecedented outbreak of Corona Virus.
3. Ascertain if News papers contributed to educating the masses about the preventive measures against Covid-19.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Were the Nigeria Newspapers relevant during the Covid-19 outbreak?
2. Did the Nigeria Newspapers play any significant role in disseminating information about the unprecedented outbreak of Corona Virus?
3. Did Newspapers contribute to educating the masses about the preventive measures against Covid-19?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will rebound the Nigeria Government, stakeholders in Newspaper production and the general public on the essentials of Newspapers.
More so, the findings of this study will be of immense relevant to students, researchers, teachers and lecturers who would likely carryout academic or non academic researcher on a similar topic.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study on the role of Newspaper in curbing the spread of corona virus in Nigeria covers the examination of Nigeria News papers and their relevance during the Covid-19 outbreak; Investigation into the significant role played by newspapers in disseminating information about the unprecedented outbreak of Corona Virus; and ascertaining if News papers contributed to educating the masses about the preventive measures against Covid-19.
Hence, the crucial information need for the analysis of this study will be obtained from the staffs of Vanguard Newspapers.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The major constrain of this study is time factors as the researcher had a little time frame to carry out this study. More so financial constrains and the attitude of the respondents were also major key factors that limited this study.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Coronavirus: COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. 'CO' stands for corona, 'VI' for virus, and 'D' for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as '2019 novel coronavirus' or '2019-nCoV.'
Outbreak: an outbreak is a sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place. It may affect a small and localized group or impact upon thousands of people across an entire continent.
Newspaper: A newspaper is a periodical publication containing written information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background.
Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as politics, business, sports and art, and often include materials such as opinion columns, weather forecasts, reviews of local services, obituaries, birth notices, crosswords, editorial cartoons, comic strips, and advice columns.
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