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Report Suggests That Kenya Might Have Had Covid-19 Cases Since January Before March’s Confirmation

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You probably must have come across conversations from people claiming to have had coronavirus like symptoms in months to the confirmation of the virus in the country before the 13th confirmation y the health ministry.

On 30th March, the state said it estimated coronavirus cases by mid-April will be 5,000, and rise to 10,000 by end of April in the absence of any drastic intervention.

One question that has been on many people’s minds is for how long has the virus probably been in Kenya before it’s confirmation?

In a recent news report, 17 children were reported dead on a mysterious illness that showed all the coronavirus symptoms in Kilifi. The government was quick to rubbish the existence of a mystery saying all deaths were linked to pneumonia.

Pneumonia is Kenya’s number one children’s killer disease.

In the wake of this, data from the National Registry of Diseases shows an alarming trend in pneumonia deaths in the last months to the confirmation of Covid-19 in March.

According to a story on Daily Nation, from  January up until early February, the number of pneumonia cases were 137,667 before a dramatic increase to 195,504. While the data for March is not complete, a source at the Ministry of Health suspects that the numbers are still increasing.

The pattern — an increase from January and then a plateau — is not similar for the same period in 2019.

Experts are hesitant to link the two illnesses; Covid19 pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia which in real sense doesn’t give the real picture of the case. Could it be the increased cases are as a result of Covid19 misreported as mild pneumonia which is one of the components that Covid19 comes with?

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According to the newspaper, experts are murmuring about it, careful not to link it to coronavirus. However, they suspect three scenarios — it could be people dying of Covid-19 pneumonia while on medication for bacterial pneumonia, and this may have occurred even earlier before the first case was reported, with the rains that came at the beginning of the year having led to the increase.

Dr Jeremiah Chakaya, a practising respiratory physician allied to the society, told the Nation that it is very difficult to differentiate between Covid-19 and pneumonia.

The question will remain unanswered until experts ascertain as to whether the deaths were interlinked.

Additional reporting by DN.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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