Beating the Third Wave

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM May 1 2021

Sri Lanka, since detecting its first COVID-19 case on 27 January 2020, that of a Chinese tourist and up to 10 a.m. on 30 April 2021, inclusive of both of those days, has detected a total of 106,484 COVID-19 cases and 667 deaths, according to the Epidemiology Unit (EU).

The number of days that has passed in the review period, inclusive of 27 January 2020 and 30 April 2020 (as at 10 a.m.) is 460. This works out to Sri Lanka suffering 231.49 COVID-19 cases per diem and 1.45 deaths per diem, in the review period.

According to the EU’s COVID-19 calendar, a day is defined as the 24 hours ending at 10 a.m. on a particular day.   

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 scenario comprises three phases. The first phase began with the first case detected on 27 January 2020 and ending at 10 a.m. on 2 October 2020. The first wave or phase comprised a total of 250 days.

The second phase began on 2 October 2020 starting with a Ukrainian cockpit crew member infected with this disease, bringing it to the Gampaha District and thus creating a new wave starting from Minuwangoda. This second phase or wave ended at 10 a.m. on 12 April 2021. The second wave comprised a total of 192 days.

The third wave includes the current period, began during the Avurudu Season i.e. on 13 April 2021 (as at 10 a.m.) and which period is currently continuing. For the purpose of this study, the third wave period is confined from 10 a.m. on 13 April 2021 to 10 a.m. on 30 April 2021, a total of 18 days. The source of the third wave is unknown. It’s however said that the third wave is caused by a ‘deadlier’ mutation of the COVID-19, known as the UK variant of COVID-19. 

In the first wave, the number of COVID-19 cases averaged 13.53 per diem and deaths 0.052 per diem. The first wave saw a total of 3,382 cases and 13 fatalities.

In the second wave, the number of cases accelerated to 477,86 per diem and deaths to 3.05 per diem. The total number of cases detected in the second wave was 91,749 and 585 deaths. 

It may be seen that COVID-19 cases, second wave over the first, accelerated by 3,431.86 per cent per diem and deaths by 5,765.38 per cent per diem. 

In the third wave, the number of cases per diem was recorded at 818.61 and deaths 4.56 per diem. 

The third wave, which is the current phase, has seen a further acceleration of COVID-19 cases with third wave over the second wave accelerating by 71.31 per cent and deaths by 49.51 per cent per diem, respectively. In the third wave, the number of COVID-19 cases has been recorded at 14,735 and fatalities, 82.

The acceleration of COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 related deaths, third wave over the first wave has been 5,950.33 per cent and 8,669.23 per cent per diem. 

It may therefore be seen the present third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic led by the so-called UK variant, is much deadlier than the previous two phases.

Recently, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that vaccination is the answer to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the Government should do its utmost to get down the COVID-19 vaccine and inoculate at least the totality adult population of the country to get on top of this disease.

The necessary cold chains to store the vaccines too should be in place. 

Central  Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in its 2020 Annual Report which was out on Friday (30 April 2021), said that ‘Although Sri Lanka faced severe challenges in containing the two waves of the COVID-19 outbreak, collaborative actions of the health sector and other stakeholders enabled the country to maintain the caseload at a manageable level during 2020.’ CBSL makes no mention of the third wave currently scourging the country.

To contain the third wave this collaborative action should be extended to request for aid from the external sector to procure those expensive, but much needed COVID-19 vaccines and the required cold chains to support such a utility, to be in place, islandwide, as Sri Lanka, at least from a monetary perspective, appears to be unable to cough up the required cash to make these much needed and urgent investments, in the present context.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM May 1 2021

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