When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on 11.March.2020, the number of confirmed cases worldwide was at the 100,000 mark. The WHO alerted all countries that the virus was spreading at an alarming rate and containment measures were urgently required. It became obvious that international travel was one of the main risk factors and thus airlines were grounded and airports closed. Land and sea borders were also closed to passengers.

Most countries implemented lockdown measures to reduce the rate of daily Covid-19 infections during the months of March, April and May 2020. One of the common measures was to restrict travel within the country to minimize human-to-human contact. Social distancing was a critical model to minimize large gatherings of people. Another measure was regular hand washing and sanitization of hands and surfaces to kill the virus.

These lockdown measures paid dividends as seen from the graph.

The rate of daily increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases has been dropping from as high as 56% per day, 54%, 26% and so on to the extent that by 27.June.2020, the rate was about 4% in Africa and only 1% in Europe.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 confirmed cases was obviously increasing. Within 108 of declaring the virus a global pandemic, the number of confirmed cases approached the 10,000,000 mark. An yet, most countries had already started easing the lockdown measures during the month of June 2020 and more relaxation is set to be implemented in July 2020 onwards.  60% of Covid-19 patients have recovered and 36% is undergoing treatment. Therefore, it appears that the Covid-19 pandemic is on its way down.

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 a pandemic on 11-Mar-2020, only 4% of patients were recovering from the virus. By then, it appeared that the virus had condemned many patients to early and premature death. However, the situation had brightened much to the relief of Governments and their citizens.

Starting with Africa, the percentage of patients who had recovered from Covid-19 were 27% at 20-April-2020. This percentage increased to 41% in just one month by    20-May-2020. Americas was still battling due to challenges in the USA and Brazil. However, the percentage of confirmed people recovering had also improved from 14% to 26%. Europe was also on steady progress from 29% to 43% despite heavy losses in the UK, Italy, Spain and France. Every continent was improving in terms of recoveries. Asia from 47% to 58% and the best performer was Oceania from 65% to 92%.

Source of raw data that was analyzed by author. https://data.humdata.org/dataset/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-cases

Given that global death was 7% of confirmed cases as of May 2020, the highest percentage of recovered cases would be 93%. But as this specific coronavirus pathogen fades away in the future and a specific antibody is discovered, 100% recovery from Covid-19 may become commonplace.  WHO says that this pandemic is far from over, but the economies cannot remain closed forever. Eventually, international travel must resume to bolster economies that rely on tourism and oil.

Therefore, a graph that shows the increasing percentage of people recovering from Covid-19 should motivate Government to open up the economy. Citizens can then be asked to follow mandatory health protocols to avoid upswing of new infections. Contact tracing, testing and treatment must continue in earnest. Social distancing can continue for most of 2020 until the virus is subdued. A combination of public health measures (hand washing, sanitizers, masks etc.) can become normal.

If new Covid-19 cases are 1% or less on a daily basis, this would be manageable using existing medical personnel and equipment (most of them have since been beefed up). If 80-90% of patients are recovering, then the virus would no longer be a major threat.

The Covid-19 pandemic continued to hit most countries worldwide despite that some semblance of normalcy was slowly filtering in many countries. The bitter truth is that 328115 people had died from Covid-19 globally representing 7% of the confirmed cases of 4996472 as at 20-May-2020.

There was increased optimism in that many patients have recovered despite the absence of a specific antibody and vaccine. 38% of confirmed cases had recovered globally, an achievement that had seen frontline medical personnel applauded for their tireless efforts to minimize demise. Unfortunately, some medical staff had perished trying to help. Governments have been tasked to beef up personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel.

The medical personnel were still battling active cases some of whom had overwhelmed the medical facilities. This happened whenever there was an exponential increase in new cases over a very short period of time. Fortunately, due to a combination of containment measures like lockdown and social distancing, the rate of daily increase had gradually reduced.

Source of raw data that was analyzed by author. https://data.humdata.org/dataset/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-cases

Key to x-axis:        ap.20 = April 20th     ap.30 = April 30th    my.10 = May 10th    my.20 = May 20th

 

Oceania had virtually 0% increase since 20-April-2020. Europe was at 1% (down from 2%); Americas 3% (down from 4%) and Africa at 4% (down from 5%). If such steady progress were to continue, then by September 2020, the rate of daily increases in most countries could have fallen to 1% or less. However, this depends on robustness of health measures to avoid a second wave of infections once lockdown is eased.

The increasing percentage of patients recovering from Covid-19 has providing lots of optimism to Governments to open up their economies given that the virus will linger around for several months.

Labour Day on 1 May 2020 in Uganda was a public holiday which may have gone unnoticed by many people. At that moment, many people are worried about the Covid-19 itself since it has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives already. The pandemic forced Governments to implement lockdown measures to reduce the speed of spread. Unfortunately, the virus continued to spread in February, March, April and now in May 2020. Secondly, citizens are worried about their income and wealth which has declined due to the after-shocks of lockdown measures. The International Labour Organization estimated that 195 million people worldwide could lose their jobs due to the pandemic. The African Union estimated 20 million job losses on the African continent. In Uganda, the hotel industry estimates 400,000 could lose jobs and flower industry is also limping.  

Where are the Ugandan figures coming from? A number of organization premises are closed due to the lockdown measures, but this does not mean that the organization has folded due to Covid-19. It is expected to resume business once lockdown is lifted. However, a number of organizations have already communicated to their employees to the effect that they consume their annual leave with pay. Once the annual leave is exhausted (inevitably due to the long lockdown), the employees could be on unpaid leave or salary cut (furlough) or could be laid off altogether. Most of these organizations are private and unregulated, hence are not required to file employee returns to a particular Government of Uganda authority or agency. However, the Uganda Revenue Authority could be able to observe a decline in number of employees and employment taxes via the monthly Pay As You Earn. However, these returns do not cover all the employees in Uganda.

The Uganda Government is set to announce a phase-by-phase lifting of the lockdown measures in May 2020. In the two months of lockdown, some employees were unable to work at all because their tools are locked up in office and their stakeholders or clients are also locked down. Some employees were able to work-from-home but majority of organizations experienced reduced income and revenue. Even after unlock down, social distancing will be required in most offices and public places. Consequently, not all employees will be at office at the same time. Perhaps only 30%-50% of all employees may be required at office premises at any point in time. Even the private and public transport system may require social distancing with private cars restricted to 1 or 2 people instead of 5-7 and a public minibus restricted to say 8 passengers instead of 14; hence fewer employees at work places.

The World Health Organization said the pandemic was “far from over”. Consequently, the furloughs and lay-offs may become permanent as organizations balance their budgets. If an organization cannot afford to pay all existing employees well and on time, it will collapse eventually. Therefore, employees could start thinking of creating their own jobs in the short-term and utilize their accumulated work experience and savings to startup. Once the NSSF Bill is passed by Parliament in 2020, some of these unfortunate employees who have lost jobs could access some mid-term savings. When the organizations return to good financial health, the jobs can be regained. For those not yet saving with NSSF or SACCO, it is a wake-up call to start saving 5-10% immediately to avoid being caught flat-footed in next crisis. Those employees still with jobs should not become complacent.

By 24-April-2020, the cumulative Covid-19 confirmed cases in the Eastern Africa region was 1285 but was increasing at 8% per day which is too high. A best case scenario would be a 1% daily increase so that the curve can start to flatten and reach a peak by mid-May 2020.

Source of raw data that was analyzed by author. https://data.humdata.org/dataset/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-cases

M.24= March 24th , M.25 = March 25th,  ,  A.1 = April 1st  , A.2 = April 2nd   ,  My.1 = May 1st , My.2 = May 2nd and so on

Thereafter, countries could implement un-lock measures in phases (1,2 and so on), all with standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place and enforced, including social distancing, some staff working from home, continue hygiene and nutrition measures:

Phase 1 (mid-May 2020, estimate)

Private and public transport, Government and businesses, Banking hours extended 

Phase 2 (end-May 2020, estimate)

Educational institutions, Places of worship, Curfew lifted

Next phases  (June 2020 onwards)

Sports, Air travel within East Africa, Meetings and conferences, And so on…..