HomeEditorial CommentStudy Covid-19 deaths to handle future waves

Study Covid-19 deaths to handle future waves

Nevanji Madanhire
There have been many anomalies accompanying Covid-19 deaths.

One such anomaly is that a husband or wife may catch and die of the disease while the spouse does not contract the disease at all despite them sharing the same bed.

In HIV/Aids research such occurrences are also common.

Discordant couples are those in which one of the pair remains HIV-negative while the other is HIV-positive.

Finding out why one remained HIV-negative despite living with an HIV-positive spouse became one of the greatest researches and if cracked could help the fight against Aids.

Zimbabwe has lost 4 500 people to the novel coronavirus.

This is a small number compared to other countries such as neighbouring South Africa. In scientific research 4 500 people make a good sample for research.

The Ministry of Health should, if it is not doing so already, be studying these deaths to come up with information about why and how each individual died.

In other words the 4 500 deaths should be disaggregated according to certain criteria.

It is known that people with underlying conditions were most vulnerable.

It is important therefore to disaggregate these deaths according to what comorbidities the victims had.

For example, how many of the dead were diabetic, hypertensive, hypotensive, obese etc. In other words, how many of the dead had what conditions?

Add to these the number of people who succumbed due to old age and those who died when they had been vaccinated.

These statistics will be important in the advent of a new wave, which they say is very likely.

They will inform scientifically how the country should respond to the new wave. The era of total lockdowns as happened during the three waves the country has gone through is past.

Lockdowns were more or less knee-jerk reactions based on no scientific guidelines. Whether the relatively small numbers of those infected or those who died were a direct result of the lockdowns still has to be studied.

The disaggregation of the deaths will enable the country to make informed decisions as to who should be protected and how.

It will inform the public, especially those with comorbidities, how vulnerable they are and how they can protect themselves from infection.

This will be important as it will place the safety of individuals into their own hands rather than in the hands of the government which employs command tactics that have been frowned upon by the majority who continue to disregard them.

When people are awakened to their vulnerabilities through a scientific process they are likely to change their behaviour. We saw this in the fight against HIV/Aids which is now considered one of the success stories in sub-Saharan Africa.

Zimbabwe cannot afford to go through another Level-4 lockdown which affected business adversely. What is required in the future is a targeted approach that separates the vulnerable from the rest.

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