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Covid glimmer of hope

SELF-EXPLANATORY—Graphs depict Covid trends

SELF-EXPLANATORY—Graphs depict Covid trends

Medical experts have said there were positive indicators that the coronavirus pandemic was easing down in the days between February 1 and February 10 this year, but warned that the strange nature of the virus means stakeholders are fighting against a moving target.

For example, in terms of cases of death, the country registered 10 deaths on the first day of the month, followed by 14, 35, 18, 20, 38, 19, 18 in subsequent days up to February 8.

However, Covid treatment facilities registered a relatively reduced number of nine deaths on February 9, pointing to a glimmer of hope as the Presidential Taskforce on Covid spearheads the fight against the pandemic in the country.

However, community and public health expert Professor Adamson Muula said there was more that needed to be done.

“There are some indications of a downward trend that suggests that the problem might be under control.

“However, we might not know for sure because the drivers of the downtrends are not constant. While we are very certain about what the hospitals are doing to fight the virus; so far, the prevention side is in a mess. There is a clear strategy to quantify on the prevention side. It is not clear what we are doing right to explain the downward trend,” he said.

Muula said tangible changes would be registered if town, district, municipal and city councils effectively distribute the K1 billion-worth of facemasks that are on their way there.

The medical expert further said Malawi needed to understand dynamics of the variants of the virus.

“The other challenge in the fight against the virus is that the country has been distracted by the demands to audit K6.2 billion Covid funds. We seem to have forgotten the virus and we are trying to deal with the audits. The people that are in the forefront, fighting the virus, are now busy with audits,” Muula said.

Infectious disease physician Dr Titus Divala said there were two faces to the issue.

“Looking at trends with the daily new cases, we have had a very steep rise and are now experiencing a steep slope. This resembles a situation where the disease has had all opportunity to spread very fast and encounter most of individuals in the society to the point where it is starting to run out of individuals.

“So, as a society and just like the first wave, we did not manage to control disease transmission. You may have heard the term ‘flatten the curve’: a phenomenon where transmission is slowed down by people who are following prevention measures, and the trend rises slowly and then becomes flat like a plateau. This we have not done,” Divala said.

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