The ebbing of the third wave of Covid-19 speeded up in Zimbabwe last week, with death rates now falling, while vaccination is accelerating rapidly with the milestone of the one millionth second dose given late on Saturday at the end of a record-breaking week that saw 440 159 jabs.
By the end of the week on Saturday the rolling average of daily infection rates had fallen to 1 004, roughly where we were on July 2 and well under half the peak average of 2 355 seen on July 15.
Death rates continued to rise as infection rates started falling in mid-July due to the fact that most people who die of Covid-19 were infected one to three weeks earlier. But on July 29 the rolling average daily death rate hit what everyone hopes was its peak of 79, and this week this average has been falling reaching 42 on Saturday, its lowest for four weeks.
The rolling averages even out odd jumps and dips, and also take into account statistical quirks like the fact that Harare’s recorded no cases or deaths on Saturday because of test delays, although this province usually leads both provincial tables.
While the fall in infection rates, followed by the fall in death rates a fortnight later, are a direct result of the tighter lockdown measures put in place and are likely to continue falling so long as Zimbabweans continue to follow all the advice and rules put in place, we are still far away from where we were in early June before the third wave started.
We are still seeing daily average infection rates around 30 times higher than what we experienced in the four-month gap between the end of the second wave and the start of the third, and average death rates are around 20 times higher.
While these are a lot better than the almost 70-fold rise in daily infections recorded in the middle of last month at the peak of the wave, it shows how much more effort we all need to make until the wave has fully retreated.
Medical experts continually warn against complacency and point out that while the wave is retreating it could easily grow again with renewed virulence if people stop being careful.