Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has been put among the top 19 countries to suppress SARS COV 2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
In its report submitted to the United Nations, the Lancet Medical Journal ranked 91 countries around the world based on the incidence or the number of new cases per million population per day averaged during August. They classified countries into five categories.
In the category of those that have suppressed, they considered countries with new cases that are less than or equal to 5 per a-million population a day whereas those ranked in the low transmission category had new cases less than or equal to 10. Uganda recorded an average of 157 cases of COVID-19 in the month from a population of 44 million people.
Moderate transmission considered new cases that are more than 10 but less than or equal to 50 while high transmission category had those countries with new cases more than 50 but less than or equal to 100 and the very high transmission countries had new cases more than 100 each day.
Overall, 19 countries were able to suppress the virus last month including Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, New Zealand, Uganda, Togo, Pakistan, Latvia, Rwanda and Luxembourg. Among the high transmission countries were Bolivia, Spain, Kuwait, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Bahrain, Panama and Columbia.
For countries that have been ranked as high transmission, the report notes the reason for failure to control new infections had to do with failure by countries to take up scientifically proven measures such as face masks, sanitizing, testing and contact tracing in addition to what they called the style of political leadership referred to as medical populism.
The report describes such leaders as those who simplified the pandemic by downplaying its impacts or touting easy solutions or treatments, spectacularizing their responses to the crisis, forging divisions between the ‘people’ and dangerous ‘others’ and making medical knowledge claims to support them.
They gave an example the US President Donald Trump, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. In their recommendations, they warned governments to prioritize advice from the professional public health community and combat decisions based on rumours and misinformation.