Coronavirus in Zim: Second wave or resurgence?

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The Claim: Zimbabwe has entered the Second Wave of Covid-19
The Verdict: claim verdict

FACT: Zimbabwe is experiencing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases and is not yet in the second wave

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Second wave: A phenomenon of infections that can develop during a pandemic. The disease infects one group of people first then infections appear to decrease. But then infections increase in a different part of the population, resulting in a second wave of infections.

Resurgence: Is an increase or revival after a period of little activity. 

While the jury is still out on whether Zimbabwe is riding the second wave in certain parts of the country, health authorities have red-flagged the behaviour of people and their poor adherence to national lockdown rules.

They say people are not adhering to the lockdown order, seen by the ‘superspreader’ gatherings that are taking place in various communities, which are significantly contributing to the increase in cases.

Zimbabwe has exceeded the 10 000 mark on November 30, 2020 recording 10 034 confirmed cases including 8 489 recoveries and 277 deaths.

As at December 3, 2020 Zimbabwe had 10 424 confirmed cases, including 8 754 recoveries and 280 deaths.

In light of the recent cases, there are concerns Covid-19 is becoming worse, in addition to concerns over the outbreak in some schools.

This increase in new cases has raised a number of questions in communities, with many wanting to know if the second wave is now here.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Public Relations Manager, Donald Mujiri told CITE that Zimbabwe had not yet entered the second wave but was seeing a resurgence of cases.

“I wouldn’t want to qualify that we are in the second phase but we may be going back to the exponential phase where we see a rapid growth indicating that we are seeing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.”

Donald Mujiri said in an interview.

Mujiri explained the country has gone several stages or phases, which are:

“The lagging phase, which was the initial start of the Covid-19 pandemic from March to June. Then Zimbabwe went to the exponential phase where we saw the rapid growth of Covid-19 cases in July. The deceleration phase came in August when measures were taken to control spread. The stationery phase followed afterwards where cases were under control,” said the PR official.

“In November we see a resurgence and it’s not the second phase. We urge people to really follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and those of the ministry of health plus those given by the rapid response teams such as wearing face masks, handwashing and distancing.”

In a Covid-19 weekly update posted November 30, Chief Coordinator for the National Response to Covid-19 in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva emphasised that Zimbabwe is very much still under in lockdown but believes new infections are a result of people, regardless of status, not adhering to safety and prevention protocols.

“Some want to know if we should go back to total lockdown and some have assumed that the reason why the country is recording an increase in new cases is because there is no lockdown anymore,” she said.

https://youtu.be/6KC1iFZfmNA

Chief Coordinator for the National Response to Covid-19 in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Dr Agnes Mahomva. SOURCE: Office of the OPC, flighted on Youtube.

“The biggest challenge the country is however facing is poor adherence to these orders and adherence to the other recommended public and social measures. Therefore it is important to remind ourselves that public health and social measures are actions by you –  the individual, communities, institutions and government to spread the curb of the virus. In other words we all need to adhere to these measures, there are no exceptions!”

Dr Agnes Mahomva

Dr Mahomva expressed concern that people were conducting illegal gatherings and not even wearing masks or social distancing.

“The Covid-19 superspreader gatherings that we are witnessing in various communities are significantly contributing to the increase in cases that we are currently experiencing. Participants at these illegal gatherings are not socially distancing, they are not wearing their face masks. They are wearing them on their chins that is not appropriate.”

The ‘superspreader’ gatherings Dr Mahomva talks about include birthday parties or hang out events where people gather in huge numbers to have fun, sometimes going beyond the curfew.

Dr Mahomva said prevention and adherence to Covid-19 protocols were the best way of fighting the pandemic.

“I urge all of us to hold each other accountable and continue adhering to all the recommended preventative measures. This is our only solution at this point of time in curbing the pandemic. As long as there is no vaccine at the market yet these measures are our only solution,” she said.

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