The emergence of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a global pandemic presents a serious health threat to African countries and the livelihoods of its people. To mitigate the impact of this disease, these countries implemented intervention measures including self-isolation, the closure of schools, banning of public gatherings, social distancing and border closures. Several epidemiological models have been used to improve our understanding of COVID-19 trajectory. This has helped inform decisions about pandemic planning, resource allocation, implementation of other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). This study presents estimates of the cases and fatalities due to COVID-19 and attempts to forecast the impact of governmental interventions in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. .
We used time series COVID-19 case and mortality data collated from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) repository and an extended susceptible-infected-removed (eSIR) compartmental model incorporating quarantine and vaccination compartments to account for transmission dynamics and vaccine-induced immunity over time. The predication accuracy was evaluated using the root mean square error and mean absolute error.
The number of new and confirmed cases show an exponential trend since March 02 2020. The mean basic reproductive number (R0) was between 1.32 (95% CI, 1.17 - 1.49) in Rwanda and 8.52 (95% CI: 3.73 - 14.10) in Kenya, under exponential growth. There would be a total of 115,505 (95% CI:109,999 - 121,264), 7,072,584 (6,945,505 - 7,203,084), 18,248,566(18,100,299 - 18,391,438), 410,599 (399,776 - 421528), 386,020 (376,478 - 396244), 107,265 (95,757 - 119982), 3,145,602 (3,089,070 - 3205017) infected cases under the current country blockade by January 16/2022 in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda respectively. We show that the low apparent morbidity and mortality observed in EACs, is likely biased by underestimation of infected and mortality cases.
The current NPI measures can effectively reduce further spread of COVID-19 and should be strengthened. The observed reduction in R0 is consistent with intervention measures implemented in EACs, in particular, lockdowns and roll-out of vaccination programmes. Future work should account for the negative impact of the interventions to the economy and food systems.