Covid-19 deaths, infections start edging down

Covid-19 infection and death rates could be inching off the plateaus they reached over the past week if the decreases in both rates recorded yesterday are maintained.

While daily new infections and deaths rise and fall, partly from delays in communicating results from some centres, the rolling average over the past seven days gives a far more accurate picture of how the fourth wave is progressing. Zimbabwe has been standing still, not getting worse but not getting much better.

Yesterday saw the number of deaths drop to 14, a high number but well below the average of around 20 a day seen since over the past week. The seven-day rolling average has now fallen to 17,9. This average had seen very little movement since Wednesday last week when it climbed to 19,9. For seven days it moved in a tight band between 18,9 and 20,3, with the Tuesday figure being 19,7.

Now it could be coming down. To some extent this was expected. Death rates tend to follow behind infection rates around two to three weeks later.

Since infections peaked around three weeks ago the past week should as a result have seen death rates plateauing and then falling, as that is what could now be happening.

However the infection rate had also been almost stable since Monday last week after falling almost as fast since mid-December as it soared from late November. But that fast fall was suddenly arrested at the start of last week and until yesterday the seven- day average moved around the 1 500 daily mark, a very high infection rate even if only a third of the peak of the fourth wave.

But yesterday the average dropped to 1 343, its lowest level since the first week of December.

Both infection rates and death rates are high, so Zimbabwe has a long way to go and any wave of carelessness by ordinary people ignoring advice could spark off rising rates.

The current Covid-19 wave was triggered by the Omicron variant which has claimed 386 lives since the beginning of December, bringing the cumulative death toll since the pandemic began in March 2020 to 5 092.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care daily situation report for yesterday, a total of 1 379 new cases were recorded bringing the total since the first early last year to 219 057. Out of that total the vast majority, 189 713, or 87 percent, have recovered. With 5 092 dying this leaves 24 252 still regarded as active cases, a large number but again half what we saw at the peak of the fourth wave. Of those active cases, just 292 were in hospital on Tuesday. The hospital cases saw 30 asymptomatic, 229 counted as mild to moderate, 28 severe and 5 patients in intensive care.

Although Covid-19 is still spreading, the Government continues to put in place mechanisms to respond to the pandemic, chief among them vaccine roll-out.

So far, 4 147 992 people have received their first dose of the vaccines while 3 161 795 have received two doses. Following the launch of the third dose roll-out recently, a total of 8 305 people have received the booster shot.

At present the vaccination target is the entire population aged 16 and above, that is 9,4 million of the 15 million Zimbabweans. This target will rise as vaccines are found to be safe for ever younger cohorts of children.Herald.

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