Estimating Ro of The COVID-19 Virus Outbreak in Malawi: Opportunities and Challenges
COVID-19 remains a global concern such that social distancing, wearing of face masks and hand washing remain key prevention measures. Additionally, various types of vaccines have been developed and put to use. On the other hand, epidemiologists continue to monitor published COVID-19 data to analyse the dynamics of the disease including estimation of the reproduction number ( Ro). However, lack of continuous authenticated data defines a daunting task of estimating Ro both locally and globally. This paper aimed at assessing the scope of COVID-19 in Malawi and extent of estimating Ro , existing challenges and opportunities. The assessment showed that for the past one year, COVID-19 data showed some cyclic pattern with a probable occurrence of third wave. But no traceable reasons of curve flattening were clearly met. In addition, we observed missing of some data which present an obstacle to the process of deriving various disease parameters including Ro .Nevertheless, based on the available dataset, a preliminary estimate of Ro=1.05 was obtained using method of generation interval. Thus, more effort should be spent on gathering and publishing clean and continuous data. Nonetheless, the available COVID-19 data, openly published by relevant authorities, sets a benchmark for possible estimation of Ro in Malawi.
Keywords: COVID-19, Data, Reproduction number, Challenges, Opportunities, Malawi.