Yegon holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Moi University. He also worked at Kenya News Agency as a journalist.
As of writing this, hundreds of thousands of people have died from COVID-19 and the entire world economy has been badly damaged. The total cost of COVID-19 on the Kenyan economy is estimated to reach one trillion dollars. How did we get into this mess and where is it all going?
Curfew and Kenyan Fishers
Fishers, along with seafood exporters, in the coastal enclave of Kenya report that their trade has been near zero. Many are worried that they'll need to close down operations. Currently, as lockdowns rock the world, only 20% of their products are being sold to Europe and China.
Ahmed Abdi, an angler from Malindi, told the Anadolu Agency that, since all types of fish are priced equally in Kenya, local markets could never satisfy his living expenses. “In terms of prices, fish is fish for Kenyans. They do not value expensive lobsters that China used to buy in tons,” he added.
Anglers complain about the dusk to dawn curfew imposed by the president, arguing that it has hindered their peak time of fish harvesting, which happens at night time, when water temperature is low. Travel regulations put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 have impeded the farming supply chain, hurting product sales and tractor operators across the country.
How Covid-19 Has Affected Kenyan Farms
- Farmers have expressed concern that the April planting season ended without having planted enough crops to feed the nation. This indicates an impending food crisis.
- Most businesses have closed down and laid off their employees, and most of what have been deemed essential firms are paying low salaries to their employees, who are struggling just to put food on the table.
- The Kenyan Ministry of Health's total expenditure on coronavirus has been estimated at 1.3 billion Kenyan shillings so far (May, 2020). Last month, World Bank offered Kenya $50 million in funding to support Kenya’s response to the global COVID-19 crisis.
- In May, 2020, Kenya's President, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced $47 million for a newly formed emergency fund, bringing the total amount posted to all 47 counties in the country to $94 million.
- In May, 2020, the Ministry of Health reported 1,286 confirmed COVID-19 cases, causing 52 deaths with 392 recoveries. As of May, 61,971 Kenyans have received testing.
- A statement from the Ministry of Health reports that it has established 20 testing laboratories and quarantine facilities spread out among the country's counties. As of May, 2020, the total bed capacity was over 5,000.
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The Genesis of Covid-19
As of writing this, it appears the virus came from bats sold at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China.
As of now, no antiviral therapy has been developed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Although testing is available, a diagnosis is not enough to stop the spread of the virus. However, the ability to map the spread of infection can give governments important data points to use for making tough decisions.
Why Is It Hard to Fight?
- COVID-19's S protein does not assemble inside the virions, it transits out of the cell surface, where it facilitates cell to cell fusion between infected and uninfected cells.
- This leads to the establishment of a massive network of multinucleated cells, which permits the virus to spread within an infected organism without being detected or neutralized by antibodies.
- According to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, the most prominent feature of coronaviruses is their spiky projections that are club-shaped, emanating from the virus's body surface. This gives them the appearance of a solar corona (hence the name). These adaptive features are for protection against antibodies.
- Coronaviruses are able to recombine using both homologous and non-homologous fusion. This recombination gives them an evolutionary upper hand.
Precautionary Measures to Avoid COVID-19
- Sanitize your hands often.
- Use soap and water when cleaning.
- Keep one metre distance from a person who is coughing or sneezing.
- Keep your hands out of your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- If you feel sick, kindly stay at home.
- Seek medical attention if you have fever.
- Adhere to government instructions.
The Virus Is Here to Stay
There are many different viruses that cause human and veterinary diseases. Over the last 100 years, travel and trade have only caused this number to rise. These viruses will only continue evolve. Their genetic information will combine, mutate, and infect manifold species. In light of this, we must push for technological advancements and more research so that we can adapt and learn how to live with these viruses.
- Delmas B, Laude H. Assembly of coronavirus spike protein into trimers and its role in epitope expression. J Virol. 1990;64:5367–5375.
- Vera Rosauer, COVID-19 Dampens Kenya’s Economic Outlook as Government Scales up Safety Net Measures. April 29, 2020. World Bank
- Anthony R. Fehr and Stanley Perlman, M.D., Ph.D. Coronaviruses: An Overview of Their Replication and Pathogenesis. Feb 12, 2015. NCBI—Article PMC4369385
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Kiplangat Yegon