Coronavirus: Challenging Common Culture, Making Maths Social

How is COVID-19 transforming the dominant discourse in Kenya?

Coronavirus Conquering Past Headlines

The novel coronavirus has beaten all the political headlines that had previously been crowding our readership space, effortlessly becoming the automatic daily news topic worldwide. In an era of online digital democracy, the COVID-19 pandemic finds infodemic an inevitable companion. This release of Midweek Special release follows the previously shared model of the trends of COVID-19 cases across 14 countries, used as a reference case for modelling three scenarios of possibilities for Kenya.

Coronavirus Curve for Kenya

Now that Kenya has been confirming and reporting COVID-19 cases since 13th March 2020, there has been enough stock of data to comment on her COVID-19 growth trend. The curve below shows clearly that COVID-19 growth in Kenya is already exponential. The trend mimics the previously shared simulation equation, Y = 30e^0.2t, for Kenya’s business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, counting time in days (t) from 27th March 2020.

The plot of reported cases of COVID-19 in Kenya displaying an exponential growth trajectory

Challenging the Comical “-matics” of Kenyans

This midweek special message will fail Kenyans if it doesn’t capture some tinge of creative humour. Kenyans are East Africa’s stars in creating new words with highly electrifying meanings, rooted in the local dialects of the SwahiliLuoKikuyu, among others. In 2002, they introduced unbwogable (can’t be intimidated) as a political rallying call for regime change. Thanks to the Kenyan millennials, I’ve come to know that there are two sister paths of post-college specialisation besides mathematics. They are wasematics (used for talkers who want to have their way without any metrics of performance) and mawematics (used for those who resort to violence to have their way). Mathematics, however, is the ultimate language of science. Kenya is appreciating that mitigation and containment measures are much more demanding than predictive and preventive action. The application of mathematics to generate a compact bandwidth of COVID-19 scenarios for Kenya, supporting well-reasoned policy and strategic decisions, is challenging the common culture of wasematics and mawematics and giving mathematics a new lease of life as an impactful, fascinating and social subject.

The Candidness of Mathematics: Where is Kenya in Containing COVID-19?

Gauging the success of the measures Kenya is taking to contain COVID-19 needs at least three reference scenarios generated from data and sound mathematical modelling. The recent tightening of movement across the capital and coastal counties can benefit from the following mathematical modelling of the spread of the pandemic. Going by the latest reported figures of 142 (5th April), 158 (6th April), and 172 (7th April), it can be seen from the projection table below that Kenya’s COVID-19 cases are still oscillating between the BAU scenario and the optimistic scenario. More action is needed to reach or surpass the optimistic scenario.

Mathematical model outputs for projections of COVID-19 cases in Kenya

From here at Impact Borderless Digital to all fellow Kenyans, let’s act together against COVID-109: A luta continua!

Nashon J. Adero

Nashon, a geospatial expert, lecturer and trained policy analyst applies dynamic models to complex adaptive systems. He is a youth mentor on career development and the founder of Impact Borderless Digital.