Daily new Covid-19 infections broke the 1 000 barrier on Thursday for the first time since August 4 with 1 042 new cases as the fourth wave of infection gathered momentum across Zimbabwe at an exceptional rapid rate with this being followed by 1062 new infections yesterday.Just a week earlier, on Thursday November 25, there were just 27 new infections with the seven-day rolling average being 26 the lowest seen since the peak of the third wave in mid-July when the highest seven-day average of 2 355 was seen on July 15 and the highest daily total of new infections was 3 110 a day earlier on July 14.
Daily infections then started falling fairly fast, dropping below more than 1000 a day in early August and finally going permanently below 100 a day in mid October with 143 the last three figure case-load seen on October 14, the same day the seven-day average was last above 100 at 104. It then continued to crawl down over the next six weeks until Thursday last week. But on Friday last week the number of new cases jumped to 60 and on Saturday went into three figures for the first time in more than six weeks when it hit 115.
Sunday saw a drop to 40, now seen as a clerical delay as results were totalled, before continuing its rapid rise this week with 235 new cases on Monday, 399 on Tuesday, 712 on Wednesday, 1 042 on Thursday and 1 062 yesterdayThe distribution was across the country with a bias towards metropolitan areas. Harare led the provincial total on Thursday with 377, or 36 percent, followed by Bulawayo with 158 and Manicaland also with 158.
Matabeleland South saw 96, Mashonaland East 92, Masvingo 59, Midlands 44, Mashonaland West 33, Matabeleland North 18 and Mashonaland Central 7.Death rates have not started rising. The week that saw infection rates soar recorded just four deaths, one each on Saturday, Monday ,Tuesday and yesterday. Deaths tend to lag a couple of weeks behind infection and even though only 30,4 percent of Zimbabweans over 16 are now vaccinated that rate will suppress the death rate.
The sudden rise in infection has triggered a sudden rise in vaccination. One Thursday 20 588 people received their first jab and 21 083 their second. Only two days in the whole of October and November saw more than 40 000 jabs in a single day, days when the vaccination of the schoolchildren aged 16 and over was in full swing.
However Zimbabwe has millions of unused doses of vaccine still in stock and the medical teams have managed to vaccinate more than 100 000 people in a single day. Vaccination rates started falling as the third wave retreated, and reach very low levels as the number of daily new infections went below 100. It now appears the rising infection rates are getting people interested enough to stand in line. -Herald