By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia has suffered it’s worst week to date as 30 people died from the Coronavirus this week. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report issued on August 12th placed the Gambia top of the list of African countries with the highest percentage increase (85%) in the number of Coronavirus cases. The second worse African country registered an increase of 33% in Coronavirus cases, 52% less than The Gambia.
WHO’s latest situation report for Africa states that “Gambia registered the highest percentage increase of 85% (799 to 1,477 cases) from 5 to 11 August 2020.” Coming in second is Botswana with a significantly lower increase of 33%, followed by “Namibia with a 31% increase and Angola a 29% increase.”
According to the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) latest Covid 19 Situation Report dated 14th August, the Gambia has now recorded 63 Covid 19 confirmed deaths. This means that this week’s Covid 19 death has shot up to 30, more than the total Covid 19 deaths recorded in five months (March to July).
Looking at the chart above shows that only two deaths were recorded from March to June. This is in sharp contrast with July when the MoH confirmed 12 Covid 19 deaths, six times the total number of deaths recorded in 4 months. We are currently halfway through August and the Gambia has already registered 49 deaths in 14 days, averaging 3.5 deaths per day. If this death rate persists the Gambia will register over 90 deaths in August.
The Gambia Covid 19 Plan issued in June 2020 by the MoH highlights that “the first case of COVID-19 was reported on 16th [sic] March 2020” and that “the majority of cases detected were among travellers and their contacts”. The report highlights that “an increasing number of confirmed cases are being reported in Senegal, which surrounds The Gambia. Besides, most of the recently reported cases in the Gambia are from Senegal”.
Besides the sharp increase in the number of deaths, there has been a sharp increase in the number of positive cases. Most alarming is the ratio between the number of tests conducted over the number of positive cases. August currently has the highest positivity rate with 2 out of every 5 samples tested returning positive. Compared to previous months the positivity rate has always been lower, with 1 in 6 samples tested returning positive for July with subsequent months considerably lower. The ratio between Positive Cases and Tests Conducted gives an idea of how widespread the virus is amongst samples tested.
After tabulating data from MoH SitRep accessible online, it can be seen that approximately 91 days elapsed between the confirmation of the first and second Covid 19 confirmed death. This is in sharp contrast to the third Covid 19 confirmed death which took only 15 days to confirm after the second death. This highlights that the period between deaths is reducing exponentially. Meanwhile, the number of deaths is increasing exponentially. Today, deaths are being confirmed almost every day.
The maximum number of deaths confirmed by the MoH in a single day was on 11th August when 10 death was reported. The chart below shows the cumulative Covid 19 confirmed death by the MoH. The first flat line depicts the 91-day gap between the first and second death. The period between deaths continues to narrow with time while the number of deaths continues to increase exponentially.
The increasing number of tests conducted is a good indicator that as the number of positive cases increases the MoH have also increased the number of tests conducted. Having already conducted almost 3,000 tests this month, The Gambia is set to surpass it’s monthly record of 3,663 tests conducted in July. Apart from June the Gambia has continued to increase its number of tests conducted every month.