What do the figures tell us about coronavirus in Zimbabwe?


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Zimbabwe must count itself lucky. Or is the worst still to come?

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said the country undertook intensive surveillance of coronavirus after initial estimates showed that the country would have 1 000 cases y 29 April.

Part of the plan was to test 33 340 people by then, he said before extending the national lockdown indefinitely, though this will be reviewed after every two weeks.

By 29 April, Zimbabwe had tested only 7 642 people, and the number of cases was 34.

Four people, however, had died. On the positive side, five had recovered.

Zimbabwe has still not tested the number it initially targeted. By 15 May, it had tested 25 478.

The number of cases was still low though, at 42. But 13 people had recovered. Those who had died remained at four.

What do these figures mean, especially in the context that Mnangagwa found it necessary to extend the national lockdown indefinitely?

The Insider decided to compare the figures with those of four other countries: the United States which currently has the highest number of cases and deaths; the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe’s former colonizer and a destination of choice for most Zimbabweans after South Africa; China where the current strain of coronavirus started; and South Africa, its neighbour and the country with the highest number of cases in Africa.

The comparison looked at figures published by worldometers.info at mid-day yesterday.*

It looked at four things:

  1. The percentage of people that had been tested vis a vis the country’s population,
  2. The percentage of the number of cases compared to the country’s population,
  3. The percentage of those who had died from the identified cases, and
  4. The percentage of those who had recovered.

Zimbabwe had the lowest number of people that were tested at only 0.17% of the population. South Africa’s figure was low too. Though it had tested 421 555 people this represented only 0.71% of the population. The United States had tested more than 11 million people and the United Kingdom 2.4 million but in terms of the population, the UK had tested3.47% of its people while the US had tested 3.3%.

President Donald Trump claimed that his country had carried out more tests than any other country but this was not supported by the data.

The number of people tested in China was not available.

Continued next page

(137 VIEWS)

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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