- New Ugandan study warns of second wave of COVID -19
Data shows how face masks and social-distancing can not only flatten the curve of infections but also delay later waves of the outbreak, but many Ugandans fail to comply.
By Olivia Mukyala
Social-distancing measures, under a two months total lock down in Uganda, reduced the number of COVID-19 infections among locals and might have bought the country months of time before a possible second wave of COVID -19 cases, according to a research by Ugandan University scientists with implications for how long other countries in the East African region may have to keep similar measures in place.
The research report organised by the Ministry of Health and several University scholars in Uganda, presented yesterday at Makerere University says reopening businesses and schools in July or August 2020 could expedite the highest point of a second wave, as opposed to October, without giving health services time to prepare and respond. Researchers said lifting the measures a month in July 2020, may result in a wave of infections in late August to December 2020.
The unprecedented measures the government of Uganda has put in place to reduce social contacts in public and private transport, hospitals, hotels and restaurants, without opening schools, arcades and markets have helped to control the outbreak, Dr. Amos Sematimba, a Mathematics consultant at the Gulu University who co-led the research, said.
However, the Uganda now needs to be really careful to avoid prematurely lifting physical-distancing measures, because that could lead to an earlier secondary peak in cases, Sematimba said.
Researchers used mathematical modelling to simulate the effect of extending or easing current school and workplace closures in Uganda, the country of 45 million people where the new COVID -19 emerged in March 2020. About 700 people have been infected, mostly truck drivers, although no one has died of COVID -19 in Uganda.
if within 60 days a lockdown is opened fully, after 200 days the COVID -19 pandemic with resurge in Uganda. The modelling research results suggest.
The mass quarantine in Uganda is expected to be lifted in July 2020, and Ugandan officials have been lifting restrictions throughout the districts away from the border areas. The lockdown was put in place in mid march 2020.
As the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted from China to Europe, the Americas and now Africa, Uganda continues to grapple with an increasing number of cases and the threat of death from COVID -19 eminent, the studys findings were crucial for policy makers everywhere, according to Dr. Amos Sematimab of Gulu University. said safe ways out of this situation must be identified, as areas around Uganda put their own lockdown restrictions in place.
World Health Organization (WHO) officials last month expressed a similar viewpoint, warning against ending COVID -19 lockdowns too early.
These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission so that when restrictions are lifted, the coronavirus doesnt resurge, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference Wednesday. The last thing any country needs is to open schools and businesses, only to be forced to close them again because of a resurgence.