Considering the pandemic evolution and trends globally, various media houses such as ZNBC and Mwebantu have quoted the Ministry of Health claiming that the country is still threatened with an imminent fourth wave in November/December 2021. The reactions from the public show that there is still uncertainty on whether the country will experience the fourth wave and how severe it will be.
The Fact Checking process has established as true that the Ministry of Health claimed that the country is still threatened with an imminent fourth wave in November/December 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve with different parts of the world experiencing resurgence of cases and deaths especially in countries where COVID-19 vaccination is not adequately and fully deployed leaving large parts of the population still at risk of severe forms of COVID-19.
During the handover ceremony of assorted COVID-19 commodities provided by the Arab Republic of Egypt on 24th September 2021 at the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA), the Minister of Health, Ms. Silvia Masebo confirmed that the Ministry has predicted the fourth wave of the virus in the country.
Ms. Masebo said, “In the last few weeks, Zambia has been witnessing a drop in the number of COVID -19 cases, but despite the reduction in the number of cases, it is still prudent that the ministry starts stocking up on commodities in view of the anticipated fourth wave of covid-19 which might start somewhere around November/December this year”.
In addition, the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) explained during an interview with the iVerify Team that Zambia is currently experiencing low numbers of COVID-19 cases, low numbers of deaths and a positivity rate of under 1%. The vaccination program is slowly growing with 6% of eligible people fully vaccinated as of the 1st of November 2021. .
ZNPHI further explained that observations of patterns of COVID-19 evolution globally, regionally and in Zambia indicate that the resurgence of cases will continue as we enter the last period of the fourth quarter into early next year (2022) which corresponds to the seasonal change and the beginning of the seasonal flu.
The size of the resurgence of cases (4th wave) may depend on the following factors;
1. Proportion of unprotected population with no natural or acquired immunity
2. Circulating variant (new virulent)
3. Compliance to Public Health and Social Measures
4. Resurgence preparedness by the country.
In conclusion, ZNPHI and the Ministry of Health have advised the public to observe public health and social measures when in public spaces, get vaccinated and seek early medical check-up or stay home when experiencing flu-like illness.