KEMRI projects spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths in March

KEMRI projects spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths in March
Dr. Josyline Cirindi, Acting Deputy Director Laboratory Services at KEMRI with colleagues carry out COVID-19 test kit validation exercises at the Mandera-KEMRI Molecular Lab on October 5, 2020. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY | KEMRI

With schools having reopened and Kenya recording a test positivity rate of below 5% consistently in the past two weeks, it may seem the country is bordering a flattened COVID-19 curve.

However, KEMRI’s latest projections released this month predict that the impact of schools reopening could only be clear in terms of numbers by mid-February.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said the measures will not be relaxed as cases may spike again.

Through a publication dubbed projections of COVID-19 cases and deaths following schools reopening, projects that the effects of schools reopening could lead to a raise in infections by 13, 700 new cases and 116 new COVID-19 related deaths by June 1, 2021.

The impact of other events such as new variants of the virus could increase the r(t)-(which is, the average number of new infections caused by a single infected individual at a time in the partially susceptible population by more than 25%) and case numbers and deaths exceeding KEMRI’s predictions.

This is because variants make drugs and vaccines less effective, and also cause more severe illness.

As at January 11, there was no evidence that the two strains of concern, the UK variant and the South African variant had been introduced and were circulating in kenya.

However, on January 13 KEMRI detected a different, distinct variant from the one in the UK and South Africa variant from six coastal counties : Taita Taveta, Kilifi,Kwale,Mombasa, Tana River and Lamu.

And on Wednesday, January 21  two asymptomatic persons infected with the South African strain were reported to have left the country.

In the last 24 hours,186 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 8049 samples, bringing the total infections to 99,630. 3 deaths have been recorded , bringing the total number of fatalities to 1739.75 people have recovered bringing the total number of recoveries to 82,729.

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