Six Covid-19 deaths in a week in Bulawayo

TOPSHOT - Cemetery workers bury the coffin of a woman in an area of the San Rafael municipal pantheon designated for victims of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico, on May 17, 2020. - Local authorities prohibit families of COVID-19 victims from entering the municipal pantheon, so cemetery workers bury the deceased with no relatives present. (Photo by Herika MARTINEZ / AFP) (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

THE continued increase in Covid-19 deaths in Bulawayo has pushed up the country’s fatality rate due to the disease to 2,9 percent, the highest in the region.

Fatality rate defines the proportion of people who die from a specified disease among all individuals diagnosed. Although Zimbabwe’s cases are lower than some countries like South Africa, authorities have raised a red flag over the increase in the number of deaths with Bulawayo among the cities that has seen regular fatalities from the disease.

From Monday to Friday last week, Bulawayo recorded six deaths taking its tally to 62 out of the 250 deaths the country has recorded so far.

Harare leads the number of deaths at 121 although the capital city has seen a major decline in the number of deaths in the past weeks.

Chief Co-ordinator to the National Response to Covid-19 Dr Agnes Mahomva told Sunday News that although the number of overall cases and active cases was down compared to other countries in the region, Zimbabwe was in fact on top in the region in terms of fatality rate.

“The deaths in Bulawayo are a cause for concern to us all. Our fatality rate stands at 2,9 percent, being very high, higher than all countries in the region. While we have good recovery rates (94,2 percent) some people who get Covid-19, go on to die. It’s just not good,” she said.

Although South Africa tops the number of Covid-19 cases in the region at 734 175 and 19 749 deaths, its fatality rate is just 1,4 percent.

Botswana stands at two percent while Zambia is at 2,1 percent. Dr Mahomva said the high fatality rate could be because a number of people in the country have underlying conditions such as hypertension as reported by World Heath Organisation last week that 39 percent of both male and females suffer from hypertension. Dr Mahomva also said the Government was worried by new cases, which show that the country has not yet won the battle against Covid-19.

“We continue to say we are getting new cases every day, every week, they are fluctuating, when we are looking at the curve, we are on the down side but as long as we continue to get new cases it’s a challenge. They go up and down but the general trend is going down,” she said.

As of Friday, Zimbabwe had recorded two deaths, one from Bulawayo, 27 new cases and eight new recoveries from Covid-19. Dr Mahomva said collective action was needed for the elimination of Covid-19 and total adherence of recommended measures.

“People need to stick to the recommenced measures, that is our only salvation. The idea that there will be other big fancy intervention that will save us while we are ignoring the very simple and yet scientifically proven interventions is not good. Those who visit night spots must do so with their masks on and practice social distancing. Owners also need to close at the correct time, that will then amount to the new normal and we will not have the virus continuing to spread,” she said.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi yesterday told Sunday News in an interview in Bulawayo that the nation must continue to take precautionary and safety measures that have been prescribed by the health governing body.

VP Mohadi, who also chairs the inter-ministerial taskforce on Covid-19, said it was everyone’s duty to play their part in practising safety protocols that have been set aside to ensure the virus does not continue to spread. Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said most deaths and transmissions in Bulawayo were coming from the community.

“The new wave has taken route in the community. Most cases are now almost all local cases. The number of deaths in the past three weeks is alarming, worse than the last wave. People must listen to advice as now they are ignoring our calls. This is at the wrong time as we face a greater risk than before,” he said.

Prof Ngwenya said people must avoid meeting in enclosed spaces like churches, funerals, weddings and crowding in parties, beer points, night shopping at all costs. – Sunday News