Experts have attributed the continued rise in Covid-19 infections to dwindling immunity from previous vaccinations, community transmission of new cases and disregard for public health measures.
In the past This month saw the highest number of cases since the beginning of the sixth wave in late May.
The highest positivity rate recorded in June was 15.4%, representing 559 new positive cases after testing 3,629 people However, the rise in Covid-19 cases is not limited to Kenya, as the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest epidemiological update on June 29 that the trend was global.
“The number of weekly Covid-19 cases has increased for the third straight week, following a downward trend since the last peak in March 2022. In the week of June 20-26, 2022, over 4.1 million cases were reported, an 18 percent increase compared to the previous week,” WHO said.
Dr. Ahmed Kalebi, consultant pathologist, told Nation that I immunity from previous Covid-19 infections wanes after around four to six months, suggesting that reduced immunity is making people vulnerable to new infections and that people are being vaccinated or get booster shots.
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“It’s similar to seasonal flu, when an epidemic occurs every six months to a year and occurs due to decreased immunity as these respiratory viruses circulate during seasonal weather changes,” he said.
< p>“I think people are less excited now because they aren’t seeing the same devastating hospitalizations and deaths that they used to.
“But they need to be reminded that as more people with low immunity grow up, nd prolonged non-vaccination and not vaccinated at all, the lower the herd immunity and the more likely during increased seasons, Covid-19 can end up flaring up badly,” he said.
Unlike previous waves, the there is fewer hospital admissions and deaths, and new cases every day.
For example, on June 18 last year, when the highest number of new cases was recorded for that month, about 796 people had tested positive for Covid-19. 19. This year, however, the highest number of cases in the new wave so far is 559, registered on June 23.
The WHO has confirmed the emergence of a new variant associated with the new wave in Could be connected, not shared. The final variant of concern remains Omicron, which was responsible for the spike in cases during the fifth wave.
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Dr. Kalebi told Nation that there is a possibility that Omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.5 bypass or evade immunity, leading to new infections. In Kenya, it is not possible to determine this because the Ministry of Health has not shared genetic sequencing data since last year. Such data helps determine whether or not the country had new variants of Covid-19.
Covid-19 wave modeling expert Dr. Shem Otoi said the sixth wave predictions are still murky as he has not run the model again since March 2022 after the start of the current wave was predicted.
“We will run the model next week carry out and exchange concrete information,” he said. “However, we have determined that some matters are likely to exacerbate the situation. Key to this are huge political rallies with unmasked crowds.”
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< p>“The second is low vaccination efforts, and finally, during the fifth wave, the vaccinated cohorts experience falling immunity and should receive a booster shot,” he explained.
The Ministry of Health last week launched vaccination acceleration programs in different parts of the country and advised people to consider wearing their masks in public.
Even with cases increasing, the country may not return to lockdowns like it was at its peak the pandemic.
“I don’t think we will ever go back to lockdowns and social restrictions as the pandemic is now in a different phase or localized seasonal epi demien passes. We will not see the kind of draconian measures and travel restrictions that have existed in the past,” said Dr. Kalebi.