COVID-19

The covid19 statistics and policy contradictions… what next?

Global total coronavirus confirmed cases as of today, 31st May 2020, stands at 6,203,405, with 371,853 deaths and 2,765,196 recoveries (Figure 1).  That represents a global average of 45% recovery rate against a  6% death rate (Figure 2).

The good news is the death rate as of 31st May 2020 reduced to 6% compared to 2nd May 2020 which was 7.1%. This is a welcome development.

Table 1: the State of covid19 in the world. Data source, WHO.

One of the challenges of #covid19 has been the risk of overwhelming health facilities due to limited health facilities and health workers.

On 3rd April 2020, the cases were one million, the death rate was 5.4%, and 21% recovery rate. However, as of today, 31st May 2020, with the total covid19 cases at six million-plus, the death rate is 6% and a 45% recovery rate (Table 2).

What is puzzling is that the policy directions are misaligned with the data. The rate of new cases continues to rise at a very faster rate. Governments issued tough lockdown restrictions when reported cases were few. However, recently, we see a change of direction. Governments are issuing further eases on the lockdown restrictions amid increasing cases. Consider the following:

  1. On 3rd April 2020, confirmed cases stood at 1,099,389, and a 5.4% death rate. Governments announce more lockdown restrictions. And night curfews. Trade and commerce are suspended.
  2. 2nd May 2020 confirmed cases at 3,344,274 and 7.1%. Lockdown continues to be in force.
  3. 31st May 2020 confirmed cases at 5,203,405, with 6.0% deaths rate. Lockdown is further eased.

What next?

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is already catastrophic. So many people have lost livelihood, and the global economy is expected to contract. Entire industries like tourism, entertainment, cosmetics, aviation, and hospitality, to mention but five have been badly hit. People are now dying of hopelessness and starvation more than they are dying of coronavirus.

Going forward, governments are accepting the fact that coronavirus is here to stay. And we must create capabilities to live with the virus without it.

You cannot solve a problem by running away from it. The best way is to confront your fears and problems head-on. And this is the approach governments have decided to adopt. As new covid19 cases continue rising, governments are easing further the lockdown restrictions.

Businesses are slowly being allowed to resume. Football leagues are reopening to complete their respective leagues. Prayer places too are being allowed to open, subject to social restrictions.  Life is slowly returning to normal, albeit an increasing rate of new cases.

As economies open, and businesses return to normal, a lot of investment should be made in mass education and awareness. New capabilities to facilitate automatic disinfection in busy public places, body temperature monitoring and real-time case management should be established.

Together, the world shall defeat corona.

Remember it is your responsibility to keep social distance and practice behaviour that prevent and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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