ZAMBIA is now facing a daunting reality following the announcement that two Covid-19 reinfections have been recorded.
Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya disclosed that the incidence of re-infection was one that needed to be taken seriously as Zambia continues to live under the new normal.
Just when, we thought we were getting a handle of the coronavirus, then comes this depressing information.
The amount of resources that go into treating severe cases of Covid-19 plus the extended recovery period means that many other wise productive individuals still face the possibility of losing their lives.
Our hard working front liners who are constantly exposed may also suffer unfortunate stints on hospital beds. Where the care giver becomes the patient.
The novel coronavirus is indeed a unique disease.
Immunologists had expected that if the immune response generated after an initial infection could not prevent a second case, the next attack would be less severe.
However, evidence is showing that the second round of coronavirus can be even more severe.
This creates a worrying situation because of the implication that it puts on the thousands of recovered cases currently living among us.
Essentially, the same precautions observed in preventing Covid-19 will still apply even after recovering.
We have been hearing testimonials of those that recovered from Covid-19, some had mild symptoms while others were a whisper away from death – having suffered organ failure.
Most at risk to Covid-19 are our senior citizens and it is for their sake that we must conduct ourselves appropriately.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
However, Covid-19 is not just a risk to elders but can be just as fateful in young people.
With the coming of warmer season it was hoped that cases of infection would come down and so far with the increased testing, this has been the case.
Yesterday, Dr. Chilufya announced that the country has recorded 70 cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and also discharged 96 people from admissions.
At that time there were 45 patients admitted in various isolation centres with 33 admitted at Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital of which 14 are on oxygen, while 12 patients are admitted outside Lusaka with 7 on oxygen.
Dr Chilufya said the country has also seen the geographic spread of Covid-19 to Zambezi and Katete district bringing the numbers of districts affected to 77.
The cost of testing for and treating Covid-19 remains high and the support of the public and donors is major.
Government’s strained coffers has been given a bit of relief as a helpline for Covid-19 resources have been shared.
Apple incorporated of America have made a donation of 3 million surgical masks and 1 million face shields that will be distributed to health and community workers in the front line.
Dr Chilufya disclosed that the Global Fund provided support worth US$25 million in the response against Covid 19 in Zambia which he said will go towards the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Covid 19 testing equipment.
The disclosure by Ministry of Health Infectious Diseases Director Professor Lloyd Mulenga that in spite of the high recovery rate from Covid 19 there was still a risk of getting re-infected, is one that we must keep at the fore of our mind.
It is a case of once bitten, twice shy.
The comfort of “what does not kill you, makes you stronger”does not stand in face of Covid-19.
Now that we know Covid-19 reinfection is happening, we call on members of the public to secure the health of others simply by limiting public movements, practicing hand hygiene and masking up when in public.