The government has recorded a notable decline in COVID-19 cases after daily new infection rates started falling again from Tuesday last week.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care daily updates, death rates may have hit a peak, around three weeks after a spike in infection rates last week, but are not moving down fast.
Tuesday saw the second-highest reported death toll in the fourth wave of 31, although 15 of these were Monday figures, which would then have been 30, again the joint second highest.
The seven-day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths, which gives a better indication of the trends, was hovering in a narrow band around 20 a day up until Tuesday, but has shown slight falls since then ending up at just over 17 by Saturday.
The daily number of active cases has also been very sticky with new cases almost exactly balancing recoveries and the total sticking at a little over 24 000 for almost the whole of the week.
The fourth wave saw a dramatic increase in daily new infections from around November 27 for the next three weeks, with the worst day for new infections being 6 181 on December 10 and the worst average, giving the trend, being 5 678 on December 14, the day it can be considered the fourth wave peaked.
Infection rates then fell almost as fast as they had arisen until around Boxing Day, and then they suddenly plateaued. That halt in the fall in infection triggered the decision by President Mnangagwa to defer today’s planned school opening.
If the trend was seen this week continues and infection rates fall fast enough the decision could be revisited towards the end of the month.
Death rates in previous waves showed a degree of sticking as they reached their peak. The problem is that very sick people do not recover nearly as quickly as people with mild symptoms and can remain ill for quite a long time, leaving a lot of openings for a turn to the worst.
From November 27 to Saturday the fourth wave has so far seen just over 88 000 infections. Putting that into perspective this is just under 40 percent of the total of 221 28s infections since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed early last year, showing the severity of the fourth wave and the high infection rates arising from the Omicron variant.
The same period has seen 434 deaths, and we are possibly only just past the halfway mark when it comes to deaths although we hope we are well past the halfway mark in infections. Vaccination picked up a little last week from the very low figures in the week between Christmas and New Year.
A total of 82 588 shots were given, about 15 000 more than the previous week, but still the second-lowest weekly total since early July, the previous week being the lowest.
Third doses accounted for 6 247 of that total as they build up, with 34 870 first doses and 41 471 second shots. So far 4 164 822, Zimbabweans have had their first dose, that is 27,77 percent of the entire population or 44,36 percent of those aged 16 and over.
Of these 3 181 816 have gone on the second shot, meaning 21,21 percent of the entire population or 33,89 percent of the 16+ the population is fully vaccinated. Of those 11 870 have gone on for the booster. This means we had used 7 358 508 doses by late Saturday afternoon.