PART 5: THE TRUE FACTS AFTER EIGHTY DAYS. THE PATTERNS ARE BECOMING CLEAR. JUDGE FOR YOURSELF
BY PROF DOUGLAS BOATENG
WORLDWIDE PERSPECTIVE: As at April 27, globally, (a) the approximately three million (3,013, 803) total recorded Coronavirus (SAR-COV-2) infection cases equate to 0.039% of the 7.9 billion global population; (b) the approximately fifty-seven thousand (57,637) recorded serious and critical cases as a percentage of the known infection cases is 1.91%, and reducing; (c) the approximately two hundred thousand (207,894) recorded unfortunate deaths as a percentage of the global population is 0.0027% and not significantly rising; (d) the approximately two hundred thousand (207,894) recorded deaths as a percentage of recorded infection cases is 6.89% and showing a downward trend; (e) the approximately fifty-seven thousand (57,637) recorded serious and critical cases as a percentage of the global population is 0,0007% and not showing a significant upward trajectory; and (f) the approximately eight hundred thousand (888, 339,00) recovered cases as a percentage of recorded infections now stands at 29.48% and is rapidly rising. It is also expected to relatively surge within the next 30 days.
PERSPECTIVES ON GHANA: Between February 1 2020 and April 26 2020:
(i) 1550 Coronavirus infections have been recorded in Ghana. This represents 0.0049% of the latest total population (31.07m. Feb 2020) of Ghana, and well below the global average. Out of these infection cases eleven (11) Ghanaians have sadly died from the COVID-19 disease. The fatalities represent 0.71% of the recorded infection cases. As a percentage of the total population of Ghana as at April 26 it is 0,000035% and not significantly rising. Nonetheless, these unfortunate deaths are relatively significant because of the impact each fatality will have on the 11 affected families.
(ii) It is also worth noting that the six (6) recorded serious and critical cases as a percentage of the Ghanaian population and as a percentage of recorded infection cases is currently 0.00002% and 0,387% respectively and not showing a significant upward trajectory.
(iii) Total recovered cases have risen to 155 within the same period representing 10.0% of recorded infections. All indications point to a significant increase in the recovery numbers within the next 30 days.
A WELL-FUNDED PUBLIC HEALTH SUPPLY CHAIN SYSTEM, INTEGRATED GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE COUPLED WITH STRICT CONTAINMENT AND COMPLIANCE MEASURES ARE THE KEYS TO SUCCESS: Without a doubt, Coronavirus is a very contagious micro-organism with serious implications for mankind. Until a vaccine is developed and mass produced, or until the majority of the world’s population develop antibodies, the impact of the virus will be tremendous with numerous untended consequences.
It is for this reason why: (1) fully integrated measures for tracing, testing, isolation, treatment, continuous tracking and monitoring must for now be mandatory; (2) containment measures such as the wearing of the right face protection masks (FPM), improved personal hygiene, washing of hands, restrictions on public gatherings, social distancing in communal areas, in offices and work areas, border controls, etc. must still be strictly adhered to; (3) global decision makers must collectively work together to find lasting solutions post lockdowns; and (4) increased investment in both local and global public health must be an immediate must.
It was indeed very encouraging to hear from the President on April 26th that there is going to be an investment into the nations’ public health supply chain systems with the immediate construction of hospitals and disease monitoring centers across the country. For the record, the move to construct among others eighty-eight (88) one hundred bed hospitals within a 12-24-month timeframe is the largest since post independent Ghana. Secondly, no African country to date has attempted to upgrade part of their public health care supply chain facilities in such a record time. Thirdly, the move to also support local pharmaceutical manufacturing and potentially vaccine production has major implications for long–term sectorial supply chain industrialisation and job creation.
WE NEGLECT OTHER DISEASES AT OUR OWN PERIL: Concerns are already being voiced by leading organisations including FAO, Alliance for Malaria Prevention (AMP), TB Alliance, World Food Programme (WFP), UNwomen organisation, World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI), etc. about the impact of SAR-COV-2 and COVID-19 on other very destructive infections and diseases. Collected data by Ghana’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and other monitoring bodies will most likely sadly reveal that the virus’s clever ambush of our public health system over the last eighty days has unfortunately resulted in thousands of Ghanaians perishing from malaria, malnutrition, typhoid, depression, diabetes, hypertension, cholera, women and child abuse, flu, and TB to name but a few. As rightly pointed out by the President and other experts, we should not allow this invisible and cunning enemy to hoodwink us to disregard these other dreadful diseases which are also (a) causing havoc within our struggling and relatively underfunded public healthcare system; (b) destroying families; (c) negatively impacting workplace productivity; and (d) hampering socio-economic development.
SUMMARY: There is a saying that “the truth will always remain the truth even if nobody believes it and a lie will always remain a lie even if everybody believes it.” Current factual data clearly provides the evidence that the global tide is turning with Ghana managing the unprecedented crisis relatively well. With more carefully co-ordinated public education (in English and local languages), tracing, testing, isolation, treatment, continuous tracking and monitoring, recorded Coronavirus infection cases are definitely going to show an upward trajectory into the foreseeable future. The very positive news is that deciphered data from among others WHO, John Hopkins University, Harvard University, etc., and from various emerging epidemiological models have provided further proof that getting infected with Coronavirus (SAR-COV-2) is certainly not a death sentence. Nor does it necessarily lead to the full blown COVID-19 disease. It is for this reason that in many other countries, several high profile and ordinary citizens are increasingly publicly declaring their positive status to minimise stigma as well as give hope to their fellow nationals and the world at large. Tom Hanks, Richard Quest and Prince Charles are classic examples.
To date, just over three (3) million SAR-COV-2 infections have been recorded globally. Both total serious and critical cases and total deaths as a percentage of the world’s population remains well below one percent (1%). Total death, as a percentage of recorded Coronavirus infections is under eight percent (8%) and improving. Thanks to the President and Government’s directives coupled with our individual improving self-discipline, the facts on Ghana as indicated for both virus and disease, for now, seems to be under control and well below the global trends.
To re-emphasize, as a country we are relatively doing well. Recorded infection cases as percentage of the global population is currently 0.039%, whilst in Ghana the figure as a percentage of the local population is 0.0049%. Similarly, serious and critical cases as a percentage of the recorded infection cases globally is 1.91%. In Ghana, it is currently 0,387% of the locally logged cases. Unfortunate fatalities as a percentage of recorded infections globally is 6.89% whilst the national figure is 0.71%.
CONCLUSION: Coronavirus (SAR-C0V-2) is unquestionably a highly infectious novel virus and the associated COVID-19 disease is certainly lethal especially among the aged and vulnerable. In a record time this cunning and elusive beast has managed to bring the entire globe, several industries and associated supply chains to its knees. Funeral, church services, building and construction, hotels, public health, tourism, small business, aviation, automotive, mining, oil, restaurants, cinemas, entertainment, retail, sports, etc. have been significantly impacted. Our success in containing the virus and the associated disease to help restore some new form of normalcy, as rightly and repeatedly opined by President Nana Akufo Addo, other global leaders and experts, is the constant need for a vigilant and determined “citizens army” prepared to strictly adhere to the clearly defined rules for wining this very complicated war. The ultimate victory will thus depend on each one of us remaining disciplined, and fully focused on the goal.
May the Almighty continue to bless our beloved Ghana, and the world at large.