A Deputy Health Minister, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye has indicated that the risk of anybody in the population contracting the COVID-19 disease has significantly been purged, hence the President’s decision to lift the lockdown.
According to him, government has a fair idea of the kind of virus they are dealing with, taking into consideration the number of tests conducted and the infection rate.
Speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View on Monday on the science behind President Akufo-Addo’s lifting of the lockdown in parts of the country, Dr Okoe-Boye said about 99.5% of the country’s case count is mild and the fatality rate is less than 1% which implies the pandemic is generally under control.
He added that the imposition of the lockdown was expected to achieve four major things; to limit the spread, to increase public education, to augment the country’s preparation and most importantly to trace contacts. To a large extent, the Deputy Health Minister believes these reasons have been achieved hence the lifting of the lockdown is justified.
“When you look at our situation, currently we have about 1,042 cases since the virus entered the country. As we speak, we have 934 active cases meaning I’ve subtracted those who passed and those who have recovered and out of that, 930 are mild in nature, that’s 99.5%. The global picture, the mild ones constitute about 95 to 96% ours is 99%. When it comes to fatalities, it’s about 0.86% less than 1. In trying to deal with this virus, we are interested in everything but some people will just add to the statistics, they will get the virus and then later test negative or recover but we are interested in the very few who might be very ill and we are also interested in tracing positive cases early enough so they don’t get seriously ill and spread to others.”
“The lockdown was supposed to achieve about 4 things; one is to limit the spread of the virus, two to allow you space as a country to increase your education of your public, augment your preparation, meaning if you don’t have enough ventilators, quickly beef up your ICU and most importantly, trace your contact. This virus is not endemic, it’s imported. If you get about 200 cases from abroad and all their contacts are about a 100,000, you do a lockdown so you can fish out as much as you can from the number. We’ve traced about 80,000 people, let’s assume it’s about a 100,000 so it means there’s a window you’ve not gotten but this is a special niche, once you have gotten majority or significant numbers, of the contacts and this is the niche you are working with, more or less, you say the society is purged of the risk,” he indicated.
Using what he described as the ‘paradox of numbers’, Dr Okoe Boye said the more tests a country is able to do, the more cases it will record and the more control they will have over the situation they are dealing with.
“I use the paradox of numbers, where a lower number says lockdown and a higher number rather says, you can go and the analogy is that of snakes in a school. For instance, you find snakes in a school compound, three snakes are found and the management says we are closing down the school when it was three and then they go on a program to identify and map the whole compound and get all snakes as much as possible, in two weeks they get a 1,000 snakes, alive and kill them so the kids can now go back to school if you are not careful you’ll say how come you closed the school when you had three snakes in the school and let go when you had a 1,000, you let go because you are convinced you have a bigger picture of the situation and you’ve taken risks significantly out of the population so this is one classical example.”
“I follow the international media and the governor of New York, Trump says let people go back to normal life, but he says he wants to increase his tests to get a bigger picture of the real situation of the virus meaning the more test the more likely you get positives but he is saying that the more cases, he would rather be in a better position to say you can now go back to normal lives because he would have scanned the population and think he would have a fair idea of the risk,” he added.
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