Malawi experiencing rebirth of Covid-19 – epidemiologist

A Malawian epidemiologist says Malawi is experiencing a rebirth of Covid-19 and it is brutal with infections spreading faster than during the first wave last year.

In a Facebook post today, Dr Titus Divala, who works at the College of Medicine, said Malawi had a complete cycle of infections as hospitalisations and deaths started building up in May 2020, peaked at the end of July 2020 and subsided at the end of August 2020,

He noted that people expected a second wave of the pandemic but the one being experienced currently is way more than a second wave and should properly be called the rebirth of COVID-19

“The kind of second wave of viral infections we expected is one that is slower and less painful than what we are seeing first because with time, viruses develop changes that usually weaken them, secondly, people infected in the first wave are often immune by the time a second wave comes. However, with the new COVID-19, the fresh round of infections are spreading much faster than before.

“In the first wave we had a long period before seeing large numbers of hospitalisations, this time, we have seen hospitalisations jumping from 19 to 70 in just 7 days. It took very long to start seeing large numbers of deaths in the last wave, and the highest we recorded in a single day was 9 deaths on 01 August 2020; but this time it has just been a few weeks and we have already started seeing 10 in 24 hours.

“We have also seen people who were infected in the first wave getting sick again. So summing up, I think calling this a second wave is a serious understatement, this is a new epidemic, an epidemic within epidemic,” said Divala

He then warned Malawians to brace for hard times ahead, saying the infection this time is more transmissible than the first one and requires much more adherence to prevention measures than before.

Divala predicted that the current wave will last three months just as the first wave (June, July, August 2020) but could be shorter if people are either vaccinated or become religiously adherent to prevention measures.

“As you and me can imagine, vaccines are unlikely to be in Malawi tomorrow or the day after, so we really need to take care or we will perish,” he said.

He urged people to limit movements to essential activities only, wear masks, watch distance to ensure observance of 2 meters, and wash hands regularly.

Malawi has recorded over 2500 since new year, pushing the total number of confirmed cases past 9000, of which more than 7000 have been local transmissions. More than 235 deaths have been recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic.