Brace for Covid-19 peak in July, Kenyans warned

Dr Patrick Amoth

Ministry of Health acting Director General Patrick Amoth.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Just when Kenyans were beginning to heave a sigh of relief over decreasing Covid-19 infections, experts now warn that another peak is around the corner.

The Ministry of Health has warned that the fourth peak of the pandemic is only two months away – in July. 

This comes at a time the country has recorded at least 20 cases of the Indian variant of concern – named B.1.617.

Speaking on Wednesday, acting Director of Health Patrick Amoth said the Covid-19 pandemic has established a pattern where a peak is witnessed after every three months.

“If you look at the mortality pattern from March 2020 to March 2021, a clear picture is coming out. Our analysis shows us we had a peak in July and after three months we had another in November,” he said.

The country recorded the highest peak in March 2021 and another is expected in two months, said Dr Amoth.

“We can categorically state that if this trend continues, our next peak should be in July,” he said.

The first peak of the Covid-19 pandemic was on July 26, 2020 when 960 cases were recorded alongside two deaths and a seven-day average of seven deaths.

The second peak was on November 27, 2020, when 1,554 cases and 14 deaths were recorded, alongside a seven-day average of 13 deaths.

The caseload was highest during the third peak on March 26, 2020, when 2,008 new cases, six deaths and a seven-day average of 17 deaths were reported.

“We need to ensure we have small peaks by simply adhering to the public health measures. These measures will not end unless we get a variant that may not be spread through close contact or through not wearing masks. We believe going forward we will stick to these measures because they are very important, more so for us in the developing world. We have seen how difficult it is to access the second dose of the vaccine,” the Health director said.

This emerged as the ministry announced 15 more cases of the B.1.617 variant in the country, which the World Health Organization classified as a variant of concern at the beginning of the week.

The cases were picked from 18 travellers who arrived in the country before the government imposed a ban on Indian flights on Thursday April 29, 2021. 

Out of these, 17 had their virus genome sequenced at the Kilifi Kemri Wellcome Trust, of which 15 turned positive for the B.1.617 variant and one for the UK variant of concern (named B.1.1.7), said Health Chief Administrative Secretary  Rashid Aman, who urged Kenyans to remain vigilant.

According to Dr Amoth, despite five cases of the variant having been reported in Kisumu, genomic sequencing of some of the contacts shows the variant of concern had not spread in the community, with sequencing of more cases still ongoing.

The variant is believed to be pushing the Covid-19 pandemic in India, with more new cases and deaths being reported every day.

“We believe with the public health measures we will be able to cope with any variant that will emerge,” said Dr Amoth.

As of Wednesday, a total of 2,950 Covid-19 deaths had been reported and 925,509 vaccine doses had been given across the country. Some 282,369 of the recipients were aged 58 years and above, 161,702 were healthcare workers, 145,099 teachers, 78,081 security officers and 256,365 from other categories, the MoH said.