The number of new Covid-19 cases has surged in the latest seven-day tracking from 17 last week to 59, representing a 247 percent increase.
This is the highest record since the October 7-13 week when 60 new cases were registered.
But public health experts have differed on whether the
spike is the beginning of the Covid-19 fourth wave in the country.
Our quick analysis based on the Public Health Institute of Malawi Covid-19 reports shows that between November 25 and December 1, the country recorded 59 new cases against 17 of the November 18-24 week.
In the week between November 11 and 17, there were 22 new cases, while the weeks between November 4 and 10 and October 28 and November 3, there were 29 new cases recorded for each week.
In the week between October 21 and 27, 36 new Covid-19 cases were recorded against 39 the week before.
In an interview yesterday, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma acknowledged the rising of new Covid-19 cases, but was quick to say it should not be viewed as the beginning of the fourth wave.
He attributed the rising number of new cases in the last seven-day tracking period to three Covid-19 outbreaks where about 12 cases were recorded in Dzaleka in Dowa, eight each in Lilongwe and Blantyre.
Nkhoma said there are
a number of factors which the taskforce is looking into to determine the beginning of the fourth wave such as the rising number of hospital admissions and the positivity rate.
He said: “We can say at the moment that we have seen those [rising cases], but we have no consistent pattern as yet. And we cannot as a country say we have gone into the fourth wave because we define the fourth wave along with other indicators.
“But definitely we are seeing evidence of fourth wave around us and Malawians should know that there is this threat around us.”
Commenting on the matter, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences professor of epidemiology Adamson Muula echoed Nkhoma’s sentiments that the spike does not signal the start of the fourth wave in the country.
But he said the spike is a wake-up call for Malawians who have not received Covid-19 vaccine to get the jab because it maybe a pointer that the country would experience Covid-19 fourth wave anytime.
Said Muula: “What we always say is that we know a lot about Covid-19, but
we also don’t know enough. Most likely the numbers will continue to rise, but let us also watch from the deaths and hospitalisations.”
But Malawi University of Science and Technology head of biological sciences Gama Bandawe and associate professor in the Environmental Health Department at Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences Save Kumwenda contradicted Nkhoma and Muula’s
They observed that the rising number of new Covid-19 cases for the past seven days is an indication that Malawi has entered the fourth wave.
Bandawe said public health experts predicted that the country would begin to experience the fourth wave in the December-January period; hence, the rising number of Covid-19 cases is an indication that the timing was correct.
On his part, Kumwenda also said looking at the data and how cases are rising, the country may be having more Covid-19 cases than it is seeing now .
As of Wednesday, cumulatively, the country had recorded 61 926 cases, 58 807 recoveries and 2 306 deaths.
About 605 045 people had been fully vaccinated