Kenya is expected to record more new Covid-19 infections and deaths following the full schools reopening who impact will peak in March.
Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) said the reopening of the schools could lead to a spike in infections by 13,000 new cases and 116 new Covid-19 related deaths by June 1, 2021.
“We consider the most plausible effect of schools reopening on 4th January to be that the transmission rate in Kenya will increase the time-varying reproductive number (R(t)) by +25%, and, increase mixing between social clusters that were not in contact whilst schools were closed. Under the most plausible scenario, we project that the rate of COVID-19 case and death incidence will peak in mid-March 2021” KEMRI revealed in its latest update.
With the hope of flattening the curve following the latest sustained decline in Covid-19 cases in the country, KEMRI modeling paints a grim picture with cases expected to hit past a million mark.
According to the scientific consensus, the reopening of schools increases the transmission rate of the virus.
“We project the schools opening could lead to 13.7 thousand (10.6k-16.8k) new determined COVID-19 cases and 116 (58-289) new COVID-19 attributed deaths by June 1st, 2021, on top of the 99k cases and 1,700 deaths reported to date. Underlying the observed epidemic we project that there will be 1.1 million (0.53m-1.7m) infections over this period, with the large majority of infections remaining undetected owing to the limitations on testing” the researchers said.
The impact of schools opening on Covid-19 cases is expected to be clear by mid-February.
The projected purge is pegged on other Covid-19 restrictions remaining in place, particularly in the school setting.
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The researchers further warned that the impact of other events such as new variants could increase the time-varying reproductive number R (t) by more than +25 percent and case numbers and deaths would then exceed their predictions.
“A worst-case scenario would be an increase in R(t) by 50% and resulting in an epidemic of similar magnitude to the second outbreak in the country. We think this is unlikely” KEMRI noted.
The new predictions come even as the Ministry of Health expected the Covid-19 vaccines to start arriving in the country in April 2021.
Kenya has so far recorded 99,630 Covid-19 cases, 1739 fatalities, and 82,729 recoveries.