Public health officials have warned that the country may register a continued rise of coronavirus cases and deaths in the next few weeks before the cases start to level out.
Infectious disease experts Adamson Muula and Titus Divala, in separate interviews yesterday, said it could be a while before the country sees the end of the surge of infections adding the virus is only just starting to hit the country hard.
Muula, who is a professor of public health and epidemiology at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, warned the country should expect the rapid increase in Covid cases and deaths from next week.
He said: “Things are not looking good for our country. We are now seeing five to seven reported deaths [daily]. These numbers are bound to increase and sometime next week or even this week, we could reach double digits [of daily reported deaths].”
Muula feared that if cases continue to rise, it will mean that the carrying capacity of the country’s critical care hospitals will be exceeded.
On his part, Divala predicted that August will be a very difficult month for the country.
He observed that variations in what the population, government and health officials believed in the early stages of Covid-19 in the country contributed to the current situation.
Said Divala: “We are at the beginning of the epidemic, it has just started hitting us hard. I would say August will be a very difficult month for Malawi in terms of rising cases and I don’t see it completely going down in September but probably as we end September it will have started slowing down a little bit.”
Malawi passed a grim milestone yesterday, exceeding 100 deaths and 3 700 confirmed Covid-19 cases nationwide.
According to Ministry of Health’s Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM) report, as of yesterday, the country had registered 3 709 cases, 1 667 recoveries and 103 deaths.
By Sunday, 82 males had died, representing 82.8 percent while 17 females had died, representing 17.2 percent. The total male recorded cases at the time was at 2 425 representing 3.4 percent death rate while 1 231 females had been infected with a 1.4 percent death rate.
Asked why more men are dying from the virus than women, the two epidemiologists said men die earlier than women due to life-harming behaviours.
Said Muula: “There are several reasons which include genetics and behavioural. Genetically, males are weaker than women. Again, males engage in life-harming behaviours such as alcohol drinking, smoking and poor diet.”
The epidemiologist added that the situation would improve if government starts enforcing all the preventive measures like mandatory wearing of masks and banning of public gathering, among others.
Two weeks ago, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 announced strict measures to control the further spread of the virus, but the move was thwarted by Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe who advised the task force to withdraw the enforcement as there was a standing injunction against the same.
Asked of the progress of the case in which the court blocked the enforcement of other preventive measures, Silungwe said he was waiting for a judgement on the matter.
He, however, expressed optimism that the court will deliver its ruling within the week.