Covid-19 is scary in every way that someone can think of. From the ease of spread to the quick development of symptoms, everything about this pandemic has shaken the world to the core. Particularly because it comes with such a high mortality rate, and not to mention the lingering health complications that some survivors are left with.
Every day we sit in front of our TVs and watch devastating numbers of death and disease as media houses keep track of how the pandemic is marching along. I will never forget the cases in Italy which at some point was the poster child of just how a deadly pandemic can almost sweep a whole nation. We watched in horror as the numbers kept rising knowing only too well that those were not just numbers but people with families and loved ones.
Locally, we always waited with bated breath for the Permanent Secretary of Health to address us. Even though our numbers did not go as high as in other countries, we still have our fair share of cases when the pandemic was at its peak here.
As much as this daily tally of numbers is quite traumatizing, it is an important weapon in the fight against Covid19. Knowing the position of the pandemic helps Governments and the medical fraternity to have a clear idea of how anti-covid policies are working, and what needs to be changed. It also helps citizens to keep aware that the disease is very much around so that they do not let down their guard.
Other than local media houses that reported the progression of Covid-19 every day, there are also statistics sites that are reporting in real-time. Like Statista which breaks down stats even to county levels in Kenya. And Wordometer not only gives the cases in numbers but also analyzes them and presents results in other formats like graphs.
Other than the health aspect of the pandemic, there is also the economic devastation that it brought about as people’s money-making activities ground to a halt due to curfews and restriction of movement. If we can use the example of the second-hand clothes sector, for example, we all remember that importation of second-hand clothes was banned in July last year. This is one sector that directly employs millions of Kenyans and supports millions of others by extension.
As at August 2020, upto 5,000 Kenyans in the clothes business were losing their livelihoods on a daily. Such numbers are never just statistics but actual effects in an industry that raises over Ksh.1 Billion in revenue per month. By the time the ban was lifted, over 1 Million Kenyans had lost their jobs. This did not only affect the traders themselves but the whole support system around them. People whose businesses are enabled by the market environment of second-hand clothes outlets. Some have food outlets in markets, there are people who iron clothes, others sell fruits and fruit juices and other soft drinks. The economic activities around mitumba are worth even more millions.
That is just one example. Otherwise, the economic effects of this pandemic run very deep. Some people may recover economically but unfortunately, some may never get back on their feet.
And it is important to know all these numbers and their effects to make planning easier.