Covid-19 seventh wave is here, why you should observe the measures

The country is currently witnessing a seventh going by the number of Covid-19 cases being reported and the increase in the positivity rate, as scientists predict a looming mild wave to run through January 2023.

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According to a report by the Lake Region Economic Bloc, the wave that began early this month will record its peak between mid-December 2022 and early January 2023.

The wave according to the modelling, will last for two months, 63 days to be precise and about 50 Kenyans will succumb to the disease

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Prof Shem Sam Otoi, the Covid-19 programmes coordinator for the LREB counties using his mathematic model revealed that approximately 23,040 symptomatic patients will be hospitalized,, 276,480 asymptomatic and 49 deaths.

Also, the seventh wave will have a low peak intensity with likely 1500 daily cases.

Giving an explanation for the low intensity, Prof Otoi indicated that a large proportion of the population is protected by COVID-19 with the national vaccination rate at the time of this advisory at 36 per cent while LREB vaccine coverage is 40 per cent.

The modelling also predicts that because many Kenyans have been exposed to previous Covid-19 infections and exhibit relative immunity.

“We are already experiencing the seventh wave, the increase in the positivity rate is because the wave is peaking and it is going to be a mild wave, should we observe the measures then we might end up recording fewer cases but the wave is already here with us,” he said.

“Many people have been vaccinated and they have been exposed to the virus, the wave will be mild,” confirmed Prof Otoi.

This is happening at a time when the country is testing less than 1,000 samples and vaccinating a few Kenyans, forcing the experts to call for an urgent increase in the number of samples being tested and vaccinated.

On Monday, only 792 samples were tested and out of which 85 turned positive with Nairobi County leading in the number of cases being reported. Out of the 85, 77 cases were reported in Nairobi, Kiambu and Uasin Gishu three cases each, with Nakuru and Siaya recording a case each.

From a higher of 8,000 per day, the country has reduced to less than 1,000 cases.

Data from the Ministry of Health indicates that a total of about 22, 600,000 doses of vaccines have been administered across the country. Of these, about 18 million are doses administered to adults aged 18 years and above

An additional 2,703,842 are doses administered to those between 12 years to below 18 years while 1,622,806 are booster doses.

About 2,802 doses of vaccines were administered in the last 24 hours. The proportion of adults fully vaccinated was 36 per cent The Government is working towards vaccinating about 27 million Kenyans

Already, the school management is asking learners and teachers to put on their masks whenever they are in school, however, this is not a mandatory measure.

When the country started recording fewer Covid-19 cases in March this year, the former Health Cabinet secretary, Mutahi Kagwe lifted most of the containment measures including wearing masks in public terming it as optional.

“Kindly ensure that your son/daughter puts on a surgical mask while coming to school beginning tomorrow to protect them from the increase in Covid-19 cases,” reads one of the advisories to parents from a school in Nairobi County.

Most people have moved on from the pandemic and do not adhere to the public health measures that had slowly been ingrained into our system.

They have gone back to shaking hands, while a few are sanitizing, this is likely to spread the virus.

Experts have now called on Kenyans to revisit the measures to avoid severe symptoms.

“You know when it strikes, it presents differently in individuals, others get mild symptoms while in others it is severe to an extent that we lose them depending on one’s immunity,” says Prof Matilu Mwau, an infectious diseases researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

“We need to continue washing our hands and social distancing when in public places,” he said.

Dr Patrick Amoth, acting Health director-general, asked Kenyans to heed preventive measures and ensure that they do not forget that the virus is still here with us.

“We need to continue washing our hands and observe social distancing when in public places. I am not saying that there is an outbreak but let’s observe all the measures,” he says.

The expert recommends an increase in vaccination drive while asking the government to reinstate mask-wearing in public places, continue hand washing, and social distancing.

“Increased rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2 to manage patients before they need hospitalization and also encourage people who are eligible for booster shots to go for them while increasing efforts to vaccinate children who can act as reservoirs of the virus and infect,” Dr Otoi recommends.

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