While new Covid-19 cases have decreased this month, deaths are on the increase, with experts expressing worry about the number of deaths as a result of the pandemic.
So far, the country has registered 4 913 cases and 250 deaths by February 14, compared to 30 911 cases and 96 deaths registered during the same period in January.
This means that while the number of new cases is going down, deaths are on the rise. Currently, Malawi has a case fatality rate of 3.2 percent, higher than the Africa average of 2.6 and the global average which stands at 2.2.
The January trend showed that about 16 people were dying every day, while so far this month, on average 20 people are dying daily.
In terms of new cases, January alone recorded 17 380 cases, translating to an average of 560 cases each day, while in February, an average of 279 cases are confirmed every day.
Society for Medical Doctors president Dr Victor Mithi in an interview said the downward trend in new cases was encouraging, but attributed the deaths to a number of factors.
He said: “It looks like we are now on a downward trend, which is encouraging. But the deaths are still high partly because people present themselves late to hospitals. We also have challenges in hospitals. We are thankful for the support we are getting, but oxygen is still inadequate and the lack of it leads to some of these deaths.”
Mithi has since urged Malawians to continue following measures aimed at containing the spread of the pandemic.
“I hope that once we have the vaccines, we may reduce the deaths, ” he added.
In a daily update on Sunday, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 warned that the country was still registering more cases and deaths and encouraged Malawians to continue following preventive measures.
Reads the update in part: “In order to reduce the spread of the disease in our midst, it is important that we identify by testing those that have the disease, isolate them, provide appropriate care, depending on the severity of the disease.
“The contacts of the confirmed cases have to be tested as well and should quarantine for 14 days. It is important to report for medical screening if you show any Covid-19 symptoms.”
On his part, public health specialist Titus Divala, commenting on his Facebook page, likened the decline in new registered cases to a situation where the disease has had all opportunity to encounter most individuals in the society to the point where it is starting to run out of individuals.
Divala also said that Malawi should expect a consistent weekly positivity rate of lower than five percent, but realise that there are still many patients currently receiving hospital care. He said this will only start changing after a few weeks.
“So, at health system level, it will still take a little longer before we experience a drop in admissions, and even longer to return to bearable pressure,” he added.
Cumulatively, by yesterday, Malawi had recorded 29 181 cases, including 958 deaths, 146 new cases and 165 patients admitted. Of these cases, 2 019 are imported infections and 27 016 are locally transmitted.