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Lives and stories of Kenyans we have lost to Covid-19

Tuesday July 14 2020
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From left: Dr Doreen Adisa, Captain Daudi Kibati, Ursula Bulums and Maurice Muholo. PHOTOS | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ALLAN OLINGO

Every day when Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and his team give Covid-19 updates, they announce deaths usually as mere numbers.

“Unfortunately,” Mr Kagwe routinely starts, before adding, “we have also lost X or Y number of patients.”

On Monday, for instance, the CS announced Kenya’s record loss of 12 lives to the pandemic in 24 hours— showing just how ruthless the virus has become even as some Kenyans drop their guard while others continue to deny it can kill.

Being reported as mere statistics, this detail is usually lost on many Kenyans. But behind these numbers are faces and Kenyans who have lost the fight to this dreadful virus, which in some quarters is still being dismissed as simple flu.

The Nation is looking back at just how much we have lost, and paying tribute to the Covid-19 victims.

LOST THE FIGHT

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From politicians’ relatives, State agency workers, businessmen, villagers and even children, the victims are not just part of the government accounting for the dead — they are our fathers, mothers, children, relatives, friends and acquaintances.

They had everything going on for them before the virus struck, and they lost the fight.

From the confirmation of the first death in March 28, to the latest figure of 197 as at Monday evening, the death toll is steadily rising.

Since the beginning of July, 48 Kenyans have lost their lives to the disease. The number of positive cases rose to 10,294 yesterday.

As at Sunday, 76 per cent of the deaths were male, while 24 per cent were females, showing that men are deeply affected by the virus.

At the beginning of June, the death toll stood at 149. That month, the fatality rate averaged 2.5 per cent. In April, the death rate averaged 5.1 per cent while May had 3.4 per cent.

From the death rate witnessed in the two weeks of July, the percentage is expected to rise further as the disease continues to rob Kenyans of their loved ones.

TRAIL OF PAIN

“This disease has left a trail of pain and anguish as families mourn their loved ones,” Mr Kagwe said on Friday in Kilifi, as he urged those with pre-existing conditions to take extra care during this global pandemic.

Before Monday, the country recorded the highest number of deaths at 10 on June 18, followed by July 8 with eight deaths, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

For 10 days between April 19 and April 29, no deaths were reported, same as between May 16 and May 24.

“... the mortality rate due to Covid-19 pandemic stands at 1.9 per cent compared to the global 4.9 per cent as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO),” acting Director General at the Ministry of Health Patrick Amoth said on Friday in Kilifi.

Despite the mortality rate hovering at 1.9 per cent, each death is a stark reminder of either a livelihood lost, an affected person and why the general populace needs to take serious the measure put in place by the Health ministry.

Diabetes, Mr Kagwe said, has become the leading cause of fatal cases of Covid-19, with most of the fatalities occurring among those with pre-existing conditions.

DIABETES

Last week, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report showed that 15 per cent of Kenyan households have a member who is ailing from diabetes, while a further 18.5 per cent have a member with pre-existing medical conditions— including heart diseases, HIV/Aids, cancer and high blood pressure.

“People suffering from these diseases are more vulnerable to contracting the virus and are therefore advised to take extra precaution,” Mr Kagwe said.

“In case you have not noticed, diabetes in probably the highest in terms of persons who have passed on with underlying issues.”

Even though older persons have been hugely affected by the deaths, the numbers show that

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