Epidemiologists have expressed surprise at the country’s current coronavirus status which indicates a decline in both new cases and deaths contrary to earlier projections that the pandemic’s impact would worsen in August.
Public Health Institute of Malawi (Phim) daily reports on coronavirus indicate that the number of new cases and deaths per week are continuing to reduce.
Phim reports for the past seven days (August 16 to 22) show the country has registered 11 new coronavirus-related deaths, three less compared to last week’s 14.
The period also registered 356 new cases against last week’s 402, representing 11.5 percent decrease.
In a written response, Adamson Muula, who is a professor of public health and epidemiology at College of Medicine—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said he believed that the reduced new coronavirus cases and deaths were a true reflection of the situation on the ground.
But he was quick to add that there could be some deaths not being recorded officially.
Muula observed that the Covid-19 trend in Malawi was far different from that in Europe and America, adding that his earlier prediction was based on the two continents’ trend.
He said: “Africa has a different Covid-19 of which no one knows why this is so. The sooner we know what are the reasons and learn from it, the better.
“Epidemiologists in this country, including myself were thinking that by this time, there would be dozens of deaths each day. We have been proven wrong and this is a good thing for Malawi.”
Muula also attributed the reduction in Covid-19-related deaths to the experience and confidence medical doctors now have on how to manage critically ill patients in the country’s hospitals.
As of August 22, the country had registered a total of 5 382 cases, 2 998 recoveries and 168 deaths since Malawi registered its first three cases on April 2 this year.
However, the apparent reduction in the number of cases could also be attributed to rationing of test kits which Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus co-chairperson Dr. John Phuka indicated were restricted to those showing symptoms.
Malawi has conducted 40 640 Covid-19 tests at 45 testing sites, but received 20 800 test kits from Chinese Mogul Jack Ma in May before procuring 38 000 more kits in July which Principal Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo said would last for five weeks. Going by this, the country should still have about 18 000 test kits.