Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The health ministry has warned that the current drop in COVID-19 numbers is not good news. Health ministry officials say the drop in numbers is just the calm before an impending second wave.
As of today, the health ministry has recorded 40,243 cases of the disease. However in the last three weeks, the country has been experiencing a drop in daily COVID-19 cases. The lowest figure since September last year was recorded on Sunday where eight people out of 984 samples tested positive.
While this might be a cause for celebration, health ministry officials say there’s nothing to celebrate. They advise that instead of celebrating the end of COVID-19, Ugandans should adhere to all the public health measures because the low numbers are a transition to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. It is believed that the country might record as many as 100,000 deaths during the second wave.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the minister of health says the drop in numbers should not be viewed as an end of the pandemic but rather a transition between the first and second wave.
“Pandemics come and in waves and peaks,” Dr Aceng said. “Uganda reached its peak between November last year and January this year. The end of that peak represented the end of our first wave. The falling numbers represent a pattern consistent with seasonal variation patterns. This season will likely be followed by an emergence of what we shall consider as our second wave.”
According to the health ministry, the second wave will likely be characterised by isolated surges in cases in different communities and population groups. However, the surges are expected to merge into one big national wave where cases will be reported in different parts of the country as a result.
Lt Col Dr Henry Kyobe, the national COVID-19 incidence commander says due to the drop in numbers, Ugandans need to be more cautious because the pandemic is far from over.
Uganda is one of a few African countries that have not yet experienced their second COVID-19 wave. Majority of the countries on the continent experienced their second wave earlier in January. The World Health Organisation says the COVID-19 variant- 501Y.V2 variant first identified in South Africa fueled the continent’s second wave.
Uganda has however not yet reported any cases of the South African variant. To remain safe, Dr Misaki Wayengera, the chairman of the COVID-19 ministerial scientific committee says keeping safe is the only way Ugandans can avoid being caught up in the second wave.
“These variants are very infectious,” Dr Wayengera said. “We have not yet gotten a case but we might. We are not safe. We are likely to experience a second wave but the only way people can remain safe is by going to the basics. Wear your masks, wash you hands and avoid large gatherings.”