Revealing the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya based on serological and PCR-test data
Ojal J., Brand S., Were V., Okiro E., Kombe I., Mburu C., Aziza R., Ogero M., Agweyu A., Warimwe G., Uyoga S., Adetifa I., Scott A., Otieno E., Ochola-Oyier L., Agoti C., Kasera K., Amoth P., Mwangangi M., Aman R., Ng’ang’a W., Tsofa B., Bejon P., Barasa E., Keeling M., Nokes J.
Policy makers in Africa need robust estimates of the current and future spread of SARS-CoV-2. Data suitable for this purpose are scant. We used national surveillance PCR test, serological survey and mobility data to develop and fit a county-specific transmission model for Kenya. We estimate that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic peaked before the end of July 2020 in the major urban counties, with 34 - 41% of residents infected, and will peak elsewhere in the country within 2-3 months. Despite this penetration, reported severe cases and deaths are low. Our analysis suggests the COVID-19 disease burden in Kenya may be far less than initially feared. A similar scenario across sub-Saharan Africa would have implications for balancing the consequences of restrictions with those of COVID-19.