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Covid19, … we are still announcing the wrong numbers!!!

This was posted on Julius personal blog on May 7th, 2020 (https://orangithoughts.wordpress.com/)

That statics being given in every day news briefs by the Kenya CS Health and representatives is misleading. We are NOT recording NEW cases but revealing cases where they are as a result of increased (mass) testing. Our control by isolation of positives is far behind the infection rate, and I still insist it a waste of time and resources. The number of Covid19 cases within our population will continue to increase, anyway, in ways we cannot control due to several factors. The most prominent is the ease of transmission from asymptomatic victims. Data is showing that this is an average of 75%, based on the numbers tested after the contact tracing.

Control of the disease by contact-tracing and isolation was only successful in China and other parts of Asia, Europe and the US because of the surveillance systems they were able to put in place. They used mobile phone apps that could easily tell who each individual has been in close contact with a much higher degree of accuracy than our recall-and-tell. Some countries used widely distributed surveillance cameras with face-recognition capacities. All information could be analyzed and easily take health officials to all possible contacts within the shortest possible time. Contact tracing was also successful where strict lock down rules were declared early and adhered to. Those countries were also able to put up massive isolation centers to manage positive cases before releasing them back to the public.

In Africa (and most of the developing world), the population demanded (and government yielded to) relaxed stay-at-home rules that were not even followed. By the end of the second week, almost everybody in Nairobi has been out and about with their daily businesses and only getting back indoors at night curfew times. During the day people easily interact. The face-masks worn vary greatly in quality and are not being properly used. Social distancing is a practical joke. The cessation of movement into and out of identified hotspots (Nairobi and Mombasa, Mandera, etc.) have been declared too late and crafty individuals easily violate weak and corruptible enforcement systems. It is now possible that the disease has now been passed on to quite a high number of people within the population.

So what numbers should be reported? The health system should randomly test EVERYONE and out of those totals, report proportions infected, the proportions asymptomatic versus symptomatic, and the proportion requiring hospitalization. We should then follow these proportions to see how far the disease is spreading and being managed through natural immunity or improved treatment systems.

Greater investment should go to preparing ALL health centres for those turning up for treatment. This means greater quantities of PPEs for the medical personnel and all means of disease management procedures. Investment should also go to disseminating effective means of home-based containment and care. This includes research exploring Artemisia spp. herb for possible home-based disease management.

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