At 164,386 total cases on May 12, 2021, the curve of Kenya’s third COVID-19 wave has since February 26 stayed close to the simulated ebbing path, mathematically within 1%. The ebbing path has simulated a mathematical peak of 166,775 cumulative cases on May 26, 2021 — now only two weeks away.
The mathematical model developed in this study series for Kenya did not factor in the Indian variant, which as of May 12 had been confirmed among 15 people in Kenya.
As a policy metric, assuming the established testing rate in Kenya, exceeding a daily average of 171 new cases between May 12 and May 26 should be a red signal of surging cases and a pointer to the combined effects of new and more contagious variants, the recent reopening on May 1, 2021, and the lowering of guard.
The former model assumptions that projected a fourth wave picking up the pace in July 2021 must be modified by the entry of new variants as confirmed already in the Indian variant. The implication for containment is to raise enforcement and compliance levels to curtail the chances of an earlier surge so not as to spoil the fresh chance for learners, who have just reopened school.
Overview of the new COVID-19 Status Map
On May 12, 2021, the global COVID-19 cases had exceeded 160 million with a case fatality rate of 2.1% and a recovery rate of 87%. In Africa, with about 4.7 million cases or 3% of the global cases, the respective metrics on the same date were 2.7% and 90%.
Under-reporting of the cases has been evident, especially due to the low sampling efficacy and testing capacity prevalent across Africa. Though Africa, home to 17% of the world population, is currently reporting about 1% of the new daily global cases, it has been claiming a larger share of about 4% of the global death cases, a significant message when compared to its share of 3% of the total global cases and 3% of the global severe cases.
Kenya’s relative performance in Africa implies that her containment policies and strategies need to be checked strictly against the evidently leading hazard boxes of case fatalities and active cases. The entry of the Indian variant is a compelling reason for Kenya not to relax on testing, tracing, the timeliness of response so as to contain the pandemic’s resurgent waves.
In Kenya, the case fatality rate was 1.8% with a recovery rate of 69% on May 12, 2021. Hosting 4% of Africa’s population, the country is currently reporting about 5% of the new daily COVID-19 cases in Africa, about 4% of Africa’s severe (serious or critical) cases, about 7% of the total COVID-19 deaths in Africa, and about 14% of the active cases in Africa. The implication is that Kenya’s containment policies and strategies need to be checked strictly against the leading hazard boxes of case fatalities and active cases.
Kenya’s mean testing rate has recently stagnated at 74 tests per million people per day, as of May 12 still far below the equivalent population-normalised rates in Cameroon (130), Rwanda (242), Morocco (391), South Africa (423), India (472), Germany (1433), Israel (3511), or the UK (5256). The confirmed entry of the Indian variant is a compelling reason for Kenya not to relax on availing vaccinations, testing, tracing, and the timeliness of response so as to contain the pandemic’s resurgent waves.
Students and readers of this IBD series can now confirm that there are two interfaces that disruptors and emergencies such as COVID-19 call attention to: the science-policy interface and the science-society interface. For a healthy nation, governments should promptly act on the policy message from scientific research and the society should responsibly co-own and act on the recommendations from such findings.
The following model, projecting the cases in Kenya from February 26, 2021, has had the green ebbing path staying within 1% of the confirmed cases. Holding the assumptions before the Indian variant constant, the cases would, theoretically, reach 166,775 on May 26, 2021. This means that a daily average of 171 cases must apply, beyond which the interpretation should be a red signal of surging cases and a pointer to the combined effects of new and more contagious variants, the recent reopening on May 1, 2021, and the lowering of guard among the citizenry.
It is now clear that Kenya has to contend with the Indian variant of COVID-19. The recent surge in positivity from 3.6% to 10.8% may be a sign that the total cases come May 26 may exceed the model projection of 166,775 (+/- 1%). A combination of the factors brought about by the new variant, the recent easing of restrictions including reopening schools, and general pandemic fatigue could easily expedite a more viscous fourth wave. Daily cases above a mean of 171 between May 12 and May 26 could be a pointer to this inconvenient scenario. Urgently taking measures to avail vaccinations to the most exposed groups, teachers included, qualifies as a top priority for the government to protect citizens.
This is the product of more than a decade of dedicated experience in research, skills development, training, and mentorship. Through mentorship and career development fora, IBD empowers youth with the knowledge, international exposure, and digital fluency they need to be emancipated global citizens with borderless influence for sustainable development.