Second coronavirus wave in Egypt more serious, widespread: statistics authority

The second coronavirus wave in Egypt has been more widespread and dangerous than the first wave since it started in the winter, presents in different symptoms, and resists prevalent precautionary measures, the state’s official statistical agency (CAPMAS) said this week.

CAPMAS has conducted a study between 14 October and 29 December titled ‘Egypt between the first and second waves of coronavirus,’ drawing conclusions out of figures during different stages in the coronavirus pandemic in Egypt.

The study covers the second half of October where COVID-19 infections were steadily low, then November when numbers started to significantly grow, and then the spike in cases in  the beginning of the second wave in late November.

The second wave reached its peak in January with the country recording 1,418 new cases on 31 December.

Egypt’s highest daily count to date was 1,774 on 19 June during the peak of the first wave.

The country turned the corner on the second wave in late January.

In February, the country has been reporting an average of 600 new cases every day.

The second wave of the pandemic was “more vicious” than the first wave, the study finds, noting that it only took 31 days for the daily number of infections to surpass 1,000 cases during the second wave, compared to the 85 days during the first wave.

The average number of daily infections was 598 between 22 November, the day when the second wave started, and 29 December, the day when the study ends.

During the first wave, the daily infections average was 429.

Egypt has officially reported 181,241 coronavirus cases and 10,590 deaths since the pandemic started.

Age group

People aged 46 and above represented 91.5 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in Egypt, according to a study conducted by CAPMAS over the fourth quarter of 2020.

People aged 66 and above of the aforementioned age group represented the most deaths, according to the study conducted between 14 October to 29 December.

Deaths were lowest for the age group below 15-year-olds, representing only 0.2 percent, followed by the 15-45 age group, representing 8.4 percent of the total of coronavirus deaths.

Gender

As the study was conducted over 11 weeks, it found no big difference between the proportions of male and female coronavirus infections, with the number of infected males slightly higher during the period of the study.

The study says this difference does not reflect a clear role for gender in the infection rate.

Females are less susceptible to viral infection compared to males based on innate immunity and steroid hormones the study said, adding that the levels of immune response activation in females are higher than that in males.

Geographical tracking

Cairo had the largest number of coronavirus infections among the other governorates during the period of the study and Alexandria had the largest death toll.

However, the Matrouh governorate ranked first nationwide in terms of the infection rate per one million citizens. Port Said ranked first when it came to coronavirus deaths per one million citizens.

According to CAPMAS population statistics, Matrouh is inhabited by more than 504,000 citizens and Port Said is inhabited by over 779,000 people.

When comparing the number of deaths to infected cases, North Sinai came first.

Aswan, Cairo and Alexandria had the largest numbers of infected or deceased foreigners nationwide during the period of the study.

In general, it was noticed that the growth rate of infections over the study weeks varied from one governorate to another, CAPMAS said, which indicates the existence of a relation between geographical location and the pandemic’s spread speed.

“The reason for the high growth rates of infections may be due to the wrong behavior of some citizens, increased contact, and failure to adhere to the precautionary measures, which resulted in an increase in the speed of the disease spread,” the study said.

Egypt’s global position

Concerning the number of coronavirus cases, Egypt ranked 64th worldwide, given the timeframe of the report, the third in Africa and the 12th among Arab states.

The country came in 34th place worldwide in terms of the coronavirus deaths and in the second place among Arab countries as well as in Africa.

The study says these figures reflect an improvement in Egypt’s global position on coronavirus cases and deaths between the end of the first wave and the second wave.

Measures

The study referred to some measures the government had taken starting 16 December to curb the spread of the pandemic, including the country’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

The country in January has started to provide vaccines for medical workers and is preparing to vaccinate the elderly and people who suffer from chronic diseases during the coming days. Egypt has imported hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses, mainly China’s Sinopharm, and is set to receive 8.6 million AstraZeneca doses soon.

These measures included imposing an immediate fine worth EGP 50 for not wearing masks in closed areas and public transportation as well as the resumption of the educational process remotely.

The study also referred to the government’s decision in decreasing the attendance of employees in government authorities and institutions as well as to ban weddings in closed halls.