By Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu
Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 recovery rate has dropped drastically in the second wave of the new variant of the virus and most infections are local, showing that communities should adopt safe behaviours as they are at high risk.
Yesterday, 1 112 new cases and 47 deaths were reported, the highest number since the first case in March last year. As of 14 January 2021, Zimbabwe has now recorded 25 368 cases 14 714 recoveries and 636 deaths. At the onset of Covid-19 infections in March last year, the recovery rate in the country was 98 percent and slowly dropped to about 81 percent at the end of the year.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that as of Wednesday, the recovery rate had plummeted to 56,3 percent in two weeks since the new year began.
On the same day, 1 017 new cases were recorded bringing the weekly average of cases up to 921 from 863. Of all tests that are being conducted in the country, about 29 percent come out positive. The ministry said a third of the deaths are occurring in the community.
This shows the virus is entrenched in communities and members of the public may be under much more serious threat than they think. The new variant has claimed more than 121 people over the past five days.
“We reported 262 new recoveries and the National Recovery rate stands at 56,3 percent. Active cases go up to 10 009 today and as of 13 January 2021, Zimbabwe has now recorded 24 256 cases, 13 658 recoveries and 589 deaths,” said the Ministry.
“Of the 38 deaths recorded countrywide, 24 of them occurred at institutional level while 14 at community level.
Harare recorded 20 deaths, Bulawayo five, Manicaland eight, Masvingo three while Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces recorded one death each.”
Multiple variants of the virus that causes Covid-19 have been documented globally and experts are researching whether the new variants are causing severe symptoms and more deaths.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says one of these variants, originally detected in early October in neighbouring South Africa, shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK.
There have been cases caused by the variant outside of South Africa and this variant seems to spread easier and quicker than other variants which experts say could be causing the upsurge of cases in Zimbabwe.
Commenting on the country’s Covid-19 deadliest day, renowned health expert Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the new variant was likely to cause more deaths as it was more violent and deadly.
“Our recovery rate was once at 98 percent and it went down to 56,3 percent which is a huge drop. The new variants are causing lots of havoc and soon our recovery rate will reach that of the most feared disease in the world, ebola, where it is known that half of those who contract it die,” said Prof Ngwenya.
“This means in Zimbabwe we are slowly heading there and that is a disaster looming. Sadly, our people are so relaxed, this virus will gain strength and we may see a further fall of the recovery rate and that is when people will die in numbers.”
Prof Ngwenya said members of the public must avoid getting infected as they may struggle to recover given the increasing new cases and the pressure exerted on public health institutions.
“Coronavirus is still here. There are people who are sceptical but it’s killing people. People are still allowing it to spread. Now it’s killing younger people unlike in the past where we thought only the older members of the public were at risk,” he said.
Health experts have maintained that prevention measures for Covid-19 remain unchanged and it is up to people to act responsibly so that the spread of the killer disease is contained. Among the basic self-protection measures, people are urged to avoid unnecessary movements and stay at home.
If they have emergencies and have to go out, they should properly wear masks, keep a social distance of up to 2m, wash hands regularly and continually sanitise surfaces and hands. The Chronicle