Consultant pathologist Ahmed Kalebi

Consultant pathologist Ahmed Kalebi who says that he is confident that we are in the pandemic’s endgame. Experts have differed on whether Kenyans should move on from the pandemic.

| File | Nation Media Group

Is Covid-19 pandemic behind us? Experts differ

Experts have differed on whether Kenyans should move on from the pandemic despite recording few Covid-19 cases and lower positivity rates.

Most Kenyans seem to have moved on from the pandemic, and some experts say that it is time to embrace living beyond the pandemic.

However, Covid-19 mathematical modelling wave experts insist that there is going to be a surge in cases in May.

For more than a month, the country has not recorded a positivity rate of more than five per cent, indicating the World Health Organisation’s threshold for a flattened curve.

In addition, the Health ministry eased most of the containment measures and despite having political gatherings with people having no masks on, the Covid-19 wave is still not evident.

Pandemic’s endgame

Consultant pathologist Ahmed Kalebi says that he is confident that we are in the pandemic’s endgame, after the Omicron variant.

“Majority of people have immunity from previous infections that was increased or boosted by the highly infectious but mild Omicron, and in terms of vaccination particularly for the most vulnerable, most of them have received the jab and that has reduced the number of deaths,” he told the Nation.

“As a result of the huge community immunity wall, it will be almost impossible to have big waves and large numbers of hospitalisations and deaths as in the past. So, in effect, the pandemic is over, for it will never be as dramatic large scale outbreak of infection and deaths as in the past,” added Dr Kalebi.

Dr Kalebi also says that people will have to adapt to the existence of Covid-19 as it will continue to spread in the community but at a lower level with mild seasonal cycles.

Modelling expert Shem Otoi

Modelling expert Shem Otoi who says the country could be warming up for another Covid-19 wave.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Move on?

Does he think we should move on?

“I believe the world has essentially moved on, even countries that had strict zero Covid-19 policy such as Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is only China trying to keep Covid contained, but even they have to grapple with Omicron, which infects despite vaccination and social measures. Omicron is a great equaliser, and after Omicron, it is time to move on,” he said.

He added: “In fact in some parts of the world the usual flu and influenza have now overtaken Covid as a cause of morbidity (sickness) and mortality (deaths).”

“Moving on means remaining aware that Covid can still cause sickness, hospitalisations and deaths, but also taking cognizance that most people have immunity and if they get infected, then the majority won’t be as sick or get hospitalisations or die from it. So we don’t need to have the drastic and draconian measures of the past, but more people should be encouraged to be vaccinated,” he said.

Contrary opinion

Modelling expert Shem Otoi is of a contrary opinion, saying the country could be warming up for another Covid-19 wave.

“I do not have evidence to suggest otherwise, my prediction of a new wave still stands. As you may know, variant BA.2 is causing more infections in some states of the USA and Europe. We have political gatherings and our vaccination rate is still low. This is a well-trodden path with an elusive virus that strikes when we relax all public health protocols,” he told the Nation yesterday.

As to why the numbers are still low despite the political gatherings, Dr Otoi said, “the periodicity predicted has not elapsed”.

Periodicity refers to the length it takes for a wave to occur before another one sets in. This means that we are still in the previous wave and until the next wave, the numbers will continue to be low.