Magoha downplays Kemri projections on Covid-19 surge

Friday, January 22nd, 2021 19:37 | By
Education CS George Magoha assesses learning at Kianjau Primary School in Thika. Photo/PD/Mathew Ndung’u

Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha has downplayed the projections by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) that envisioned a possible surge of Covid-19 infections following the full reopening of schools, saying the status-quo proves otherwise.

According to the latest research findings by Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) reopening of schools on January 4, 2021 could lead to a spike in infections by 13,700 new cases and 116 new COVID-19 related deaths by June 1, 2021.

“We consider the most plausible effect of schools reopening on 4th January to be that the transmission rate in Kenya will increase the time-varying reproductive number (R(t)) by +25%, and increase mixing between social clusters that were not in contact whilst schools were closed. Under the most plausible scenario, we project that the rate of COVID-19 case and death incidence will peak in mid-March 2021,” the researchers reveal in the latest update.

However on his part Magoha on Friday dismissed the scientific projection saying it is not factual.

“First of all, I am a top grade scientist and surgeon, 43 years. The people I have trained are professors…since we reopened; we are coming to the end of the third week. What were the figures yesterday? 2.3 percent. Do you want me to listen to your politics or look at the facts?,” Magoha said at Sheikh Abdallah Al-Farsi Girls Secondary School in Mombasa.

While admitting that the government has failed to provide social distancing to a large number of learners at school, the CS observed “by the grace of God the children are masked.”

“We have not provided social distancing to a large number of learning institutions but by the grace of God, the children are masked. So how many have achieved Corona?… Let us have hope for our children,” Magoha said.

On return to school, the CS said the schools at the Coast are almost at par with exceptions of just a few who are either ready to deliver kids or have delivered already and have been allowed to rest for a few more days.

“Yesterday, I was in Taita Taveta County, today I went to Kilifi and now I am here in Mombasa. I am happy because in some of the schools that I have visited the return to school is 104 per cent,” said Magoha.

At the same time the CS said pads have reached all the regions in the country adding that each of the 1.7 million girls eligible to receive the sanitary towels in Primary schools, will receive a pack for nine months.

“As far as the secondary schools are concerned we are talking very actively and very quickly with the Safaricom foundation to assist us,” he said.

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