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Health Talk: Fourth wave starting to show signs

By Johannes Marisa

Zimbabwe has begun to record at least 1 000 cases of Covid-19 daily, a sign that another wave has creeped in.

The number of hospital admissions has just gone up in the last few days. That is gut-wrenching to everyone who has faced the heinous virus before. The Covid-19 scourge seems far from being over as  South Africa announced that it had discovered another mutant strain of Covid-19, the B1.1.529, code named Omicron.

Omicron has now been detected in at least 28 countries of the world, a development which shows that the virus has no borders. The United Kingdom has recorded at least 134 of its citizens who have the Omicron.

Many people have already rushed to conclude that the Omicron is less dangerous than the delta variant. This is premature as more findings are to be availed later as research is going on.

What was to follow was irritating with half-baked measures being undertaken by the developed countries. It was indeed knee-jerk response that should not be condoned by the world in general. Europe imposed travel restrictions to Southern African countries which included South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Botswana, Eswatini and Lesotho.

Today, more than 70 countries have extended their unnecessary bans to Africa. Our country was put on the red list despite the absence of any confirmed cases, a development likely based on politics rather than science. It is undeniable that both Zambia and Zimbabwe share the same risk of the mutant strain considering that Botswana borders both Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The super-powers should be reminded that Covid-19 has no borders and anytime, it will be everywhere in this world despite all the sophisticated detergents, equipment, staff etcetera. That is grossly absurd. We expect our African presidents to unite against such type of imperialism. Racism is surely abhorrent to us.

We have begun seeing Covid-19 patients in the last few days.

Some of the symptoms are not as unique as those ones found last time. The presence of gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea seems quite common.

There is also headache, generalised body weakness, fever, joint pains with some loss of appetite. People should know that not everyone will present with cough, sore throat this time but one has to seek treatment or testing upon showing some of the listed symptoms above.

Delayed treatment and testing is catastrophic as one can spread the infection to many people and the scourge will not stop early. Covid-19 is a menace that should be treated seriously as it has potential to decimate many people. We ought to remain united in our endeavour to contain the diabolical virus. Special credit should go to our astute health workforce. These are heroes as we face the fourth wave.

Health experts have warned about the emergence of the fourth wave in December and now we are in the same month. The signs are already there about the fourth wave in Zimbabwe with daily cases going up in the last few days.

South Africa is leading in Southern Africa with cases going above 16 000 on Friday, a figure which is frightening. The new variant, omicron, is still under study as much is not known about it. Experts are still to ascertain whether there is increased transmissibility, higher reproductive number or associated mortality.

It is unfortunate that a lot of people were now complacent about Covid-19 regulations and some would move around without masks. It is time to observe all the stipulated guidelines if we want to remain safe from the heinous virus which is already threatening our Christmas holidays.

For sure, our festive seasons are going to be bleak. What has so far been found is that those who are vaccinated seem to suffer from milder disease as compared to those that are unvaccinated. It is imperative that people get their jabs to maximise their protection. Israel is one country that has introduced third dose of the vaccine which it calls the ‘booster’ shot.

Everyone in Israel is considered fully vaccinated after receiving three full doses of the vaccine. Government of Zimbabwe has introduced the booster vaccine for frontiers who include health care workers. This is a positive development for our country as we face the fourth wave.

People should be reminded that jab protection wanes off as time moves with a protection time of about 10 months being the average. With Covid-19 showing no signs of departure from us, it is wise not to shun vaccination.

Let us remain vigilant as a nation. We have met the virus before and we will meet it tomorrow. Get your jab today. Do not be left today as vaccines have been shown to reduce the severity of Covid-19. Get your jab today.

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