Data from the Public Health Institute of Malawi (Phim) shows that 51 people have died of Covid-19 between January 1 and yesterday this year, representing 64 percent increase from last year (34) in the same period.
The increase comes despite several efforts
government has put in place to prevent the further spread of the pandemic that has cumulatively claimed 2 413 lives as of January 8.
The report also shows that this year, the country recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day on January 5 where nine deaths were recorded.
During the same period last year, the highest number of death was five recorded on January 8.
In an interview yesterday, public health expert Nyovani Madise said Malawians need to understand the timing of the Covid-19 waves.
Madise, who is also African Institute for Development Policy (Afidep) country director, observed that the number of Covid-19 deaths this year are higher than that of the same period last year because the country is currently at the peak of the fourth wave where the number of hospitalisations is also high.
She noted that between January 1 and 8 last year, Covid-19 second wave had just started and the number of deaths increased between mid-January and mid-February.
Madise said: “This wave started in November, so it’s . at mature (stage). So we are having a number of deaths
“The other thing you have to consider is that last year we had a delta variant, while this year there is still the delta, but there is also the Omicron. So you will have deaths due to delta and deaths due to Omicron, so it’s a combination.”
She urged Malawians to get Covid-19 vaccine to protect them from being severely attacked by the virus.
Malawi University of Science and Technology Academy of Medical Sciences head of biological sciences Dr. Gama Bandawe noted that it seems people are tired of following Covid-19 preventive measures such as observing social distancing, wearing of face masks and washing hands regularly, which he said has made the fourth wave more transmissible.
“But it is a dangerous situation because as people are getting tired, the virus is not getting tired, it is becoming better at transmitting. The majority of people who are getting severe cases, hospitalised and dying are unvaccinated.”
He noted that despite government efforts to sensitise Malawians on the importance of Covid-19 vaccine, Malawians have not welcomed the jabs as other countries have done.
Last week Phim statistics showed that out of 67 people who died of Covid-19 during the five-week period between November 29 2021 and January 2 2021, 64 were unvaccinated.
The report also showed that one person was fully vaccinated while one had received the first of the double-dose AstraZeneca vaccine and the last one’s vaccination status was not established.
Last week, government rolled out administration of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine targeting children aged between 12 and 17.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda noted that there had been lukewarm response, saying most parents still had questions about the vaccine around safety for their children.
As of Saturday, Malawi had accumulatively recorded 79 713 cases, 2 411 deaths and 62 140 recoveries.
A total of 739 075 were fully vaccinated, representing 6.7 percent of the targeted population of 11 million.