Deputy President William Ruto has announced that he is scaling down all his public engagements due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
To this end, he indicated that planned meetings in Machakos, Kitui and Makueni meetings have been postponed.
The DP, in a tweet, also said he has postponed his planned rallies in Ukambani counties of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni, which were planned for this weekend.
“The upsurge in Covid-19 cases strongly indicates that a second wave may be in the offing. For this reason, I have decided to significantly scale down my public engagements until further notice. The empowerment meetings for this weekend in Machakos, Kitui and Makueni are postponed,” Dr Ruto told his 3.5 million followers on Twitter.
This comes as a recent analysis by the Nation has shown a disproportionately sharp increase in new infections in counties that have hosted crowded political rallies without regard to Covid-19 health protocols, compared to the less politically active devolved units.
A review of five counties that hosted huge political rallies reported 733 new Covid-19 cases in just 10 days after the events in which politicians addressed masses.
By contrast, five randomly selected counties that did not host any mass gatherings reported only 151 new Covid-19 cases in the same period.
Kakamega, Kisii, Nyeri, Embu, and Kisumu counties, where politicians have held packed rallies since October 20, have collectively recorded a surge in Covid-19 infections from 2,153 cases to more than 2,886 as at yesterday.
Kisumu County, which hosted President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga and their teams has seen the Covid-19 numbers grow from 882 to 1,212. Kisii County, where Mashujaa Day celebrations were held, reported a surge in new cases from 512 to 614.
Embu County, which hosted Dr Ruto’s entourage, recorded an increase from 215 cases late last month to the current 248 infections. The same goes for Nyeri, which had 326 Covid-19 cases before hosting rallies by the President and his deputy on separate occasions; after which the numbers increased to 381.
Kakamega County has recorded a surge in Covid-19 cases in less than two weeks.
The county, which hosted the DP and his allies during the period, had 218 cases on October 20 but they increased to 404 by the end of the month.
The Nation picked a sample of five randomly selected counties where there have been no mass political rallies, which together reported only 151 new Covid-19 cases. Wajir, West Pokot, Kwale, Makueni and Vihiga recorded 416 cases since Mashujaa day and 567 cases on the last day of October.
As the number of cases in the five counties that hosted rallies continues to rise, Nairobi and Mombasa, which have been the epicentre of the virus, have recorded a sharp rise, with the capital city’s numbers increasing to 25,977 cases from 22,581. Mombasa, on the other hand, has reported a total of 4,492 infections from 3,589 cases on Mashujaa Day.
The rising political temperatures caused by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional reforms duel between the two political camps led by President Kenyatta and his deputy seem to be fuelling the surge, with experts raising concerns over what has come to be described as super-spreader rallies.