Corona hits new high. Was it a gamble to reopen?

Covid-19 cases have surpassed the 10,000 mark.

This was after 379 people tested positive for the virus.

This figure puts in a spot the decision by government to reopen the economy even as it is evident the country’s preparedness is not 100 per cent.

As it stands, only a handful of counties have the requisite 300 isolation beds and the necessary critical care services ready for a possible surge.

By weekend, the number of critical care patients had gone up to 40 in a country that has just 518 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, majority in Nairobi, and still facing other health challenges.

It appears that a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta took the risk of reopening the economy, the cases have increased by 2,038.

On July 6, when the president announced the reopening of the economy in phases, the case load was 8,067.

However, in yesterday’s update by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, the numbers had gone up to 10,105.

These numbers, while being the highest so far following the lifting of lockdown in Nairobi and Mombasa counties and reopening of places of worship, there are indications the figures might go up even further if the disease takes the same pattern as in other countries, which reopened and later had to close after a surge.

It is within the week after reopening that Kenya reported the highest number of cases on July 10, 2020 after 473 people tested positive.

The previous day, on June 9, the ministry had recorded another high of 447. Before reopening, the highest case load was 389, recorded on July 4.

The figure of 10,000 cases was anticipated by end of April, according to the then modelling by the Ministry of Health as the peak of the disease.

However, this model was later revised and it was indicated that the peak of the disease will be around August and September when the country will be recording more than 200 cases in a day.

Larger sample

But the first 200 case load in 24 hours came earlier, on June 18, when the country reported that 213 people had turned positive. This is after testing the largest sample size then, which was 6,024.

A bulk of the samples, about 5,000, were a backlog after reagents and some kits ran out due to global supply constraints.

These figures indicate that Kenya could hit the projected peak way before August or September, a fact which Health Director General Patrick Amoth alluded to.

“But until we reach that peak, nobody can tell for sure, because sometimes nature does not obey science,” said Dr Amoth.

Yesterday, the 379 cases were from a sample size of 7,050, the highest so far.

“Out of the positive cases, 376 are Kenyans while three are foreigners with 253 being male and 126 females,” said Kagwe in the statement.

Nairobi, with 209 cases, had the highest followed by Kiambu 49, Busia 38, Migori 19, Mombasa 16 and Kajiado 12.

Even as the country recorded more cases, the number of recoveries has gone up too after 49 patients were discharged.

To date, 2,881 people have recovered.

“Regrettably we have lost one more patient to the disease, bringing our cumulative fatality count to 185,” said Kagwe in a statement.

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