Nation in third wave grip

The Herald Reporter |  2 years ago | top

Zimbabwe is now well into the third wave of Covid-19, which started manifesting itself on a national level in the second week of June, with infection rates now running higher than in the second wave early this year although death rates are still slightly lower than in that wave.

The highest rate of daily reported infections in this third wave was seen on Friday, with 2 683 new patients, way above the 1 365 seen on 5 January, the highest daily total in the second wave. Yesterday the total had dropped to 912.

The highest daily death toll in this present third wave was however yesterday, with 59 deaths, overtaking the previous highest seen on Thursday last week, with 56. But the highest daily death tolls in the second wave were 70 on 25 January and 60 on 18 January.

While vaccination rates are rising, with almost 35 000 doses administered on Thursday and just over 30 000 on Friday last week, they are now likely to rise fairly sharply again with the half of the major delivery of 2 million doses that arrived last week assigned to first doses having been divided between the provinces and another large shipment of 1,5 million doses expected this week. Logistically, since second doses have to be the same vaccine as the first dose, second doses are kept back for the four weeks needed between doses.

Vaccination rates slipped in June and early July but are now rising fast with the Government pressing all teams to vaccinate as many as possible now that they can draw however many doses they can physically administer in a day. The Ministry of Health and Child Care, backed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, is confident the supply chain from the Chinese suppliers is now fully functional, so allowing a major speed-up in vaccination rates.

One likely difference though is the better targeted testing by medical authorities as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Good contact tracing and testing of contacts will track down more of those infected, even if they have no symptoms or only very mild symptoms. The higher recording of infections this time round, without as yet a matching death rate, suggests that a larger proportion of sick people are being tested

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