DR Congo enters fourth wave of COVID-19 – Health Officials
Written by Derrick Asaba on December 14, 2021
The Democratic Republic of Congo has entered the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, health officials in the country have announced.
The head of the technical secretariat of the response against the Covid-19, Dr Jean-Jacques Muyembe announced that DR Congo is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases.
This was made known in the bulletin of the Technical Secretariat of the Multisectoral Committee on the response against the Covid-19 published on December 10, 2021, in DR Congo.
The country recorded a total of 723 new positive cases within a span of 24 hours. “This is a significant increase in infection rate, compared to October this year when the number of recorded cases were less than 50 per day,” The East African wrote.
Although the new Omicron variant has not yet been detected in the country, Muyembe, who is also Director General of the National Institute for Biomedical Research said it is urgent for masses to be vigilant.
“It is urgent to observe the barrier measures decreed by the national authorities. It is a question of respecting the barrier measures; wearing masks, observing physical distance, reducing the number of people in places of funerals or celebrations,” Muyembe stressed.
Virologist Muyembe also reiterated the need to be vaccinated. “Vaccination will help in achieving herd immunity. Vaccination remains the best strategy to prevent hospitals from becoming overburdened again,” said Muyembe.
According to media reports, vaccination in the DR Congo is a failure for now. According to figures from the Ministry of Health, since the start of vaccination in the country on April 19, 2021, only 0.1% of the population has been vaccinated.
This means only 177,313 people have received the first dose and 60,099 have received their second dose.
The city of Kinshasa, with a population of over 12 million, is the epicenter of the disease. Health authorities in the country say the rise in positive cases is a worrying trend.
According to a clinical report on a study that aimed at identifying the risk factors for COVID-19 severity and comparing patients between the first–third waves and the fourth wave in Osaka, Japan, COVID-19 severity worsened during the fourth wave.
In the study that identified 404 patients (median age: 71.0 years [interquartile range: 56.0–80.0]), of whom 199 (49.1%) had mild disease, 142 (35.2%) had moderate disease, and 63 (15.6%) had severe disease, the overall disease severity in the fourth wave was higher than in the first–third waves.