A fourth wave of COVID-19 is sweeping across Kenya with a peak in infections likely to hit the country by July 15.
The sudden surge will be attributable to the Delta variant, which has been found to be 60 per cent more transmissible than the first variant and bound to present more severe symptoms. The Delta strain was first discovered in India.
According to the new report by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Nairobi and the Coastal region will be worst hit by the fourth wave.
The study also projects an additional 4,300 hospitalizations and 580 deaths from the Delta variant.
The most likely location where health service demand will exceed capacity is in the Nyanza/Western region, the finding reads in part.
Genomic data from across the country indicates an increasing proportion of cases positive for the Delta variant pointing to the establishment of local transmission in the months to May.
“We are beginning to see replacement of the Alpha variant that was predominant in the third wave,” the experts said. The researchers said this indicates a strong likelihood of a fourth wave and prompts consideration of its timing and impact.
“The timing of the next wave is imminent for the country as a whole or, in the case of the lakeside region is currently occurring. The health services in lakeside region counties are in jeopardy of being stretched beyond capacity,” it states.
Ministry of Health Acting Director-General, Dr Patrick Amoth, however, said the ministry is assessing the data collected to determine the possibility of the country experiencing a fourth wave.
As at Thursday July 1, a total of 406,146 people in Kenya have received the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine while 1,010,954 people have got the first jab.
The total vaccines administered in Kenya now stands at 1,417,100.
The uptake of the second dose stands at 40.2 per cent with a majority of those vaccinated being men at 55 per cent.
At the same time, the proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated is at 1.56 per cent.
“I want to appeal to all Kenyans, whether you have received your two doses or a single shot, to continue to wear masks properly and continue to maintain social distance. The proportion of our people who have been fully vaccinated is still small so we are very far from achieving herd immunity,” Dr Amoth said.