98% of COVID19 deaths in Khartoum are undetected, Imperial College London says

Khartoum- Altaghyeer staff:

98% of COVID19 deaths in Khartoum are undetected according to a report by the Imperial College London COVID-19 response team and multiple partners. The research, published today, estimated that around 16,090 deaths in Sudan’s capital may have been missed as of 20 November, 2020, while 38% of Khartoum population were infected.

Alarmingly, researchers predict the second wave of COVID19 will peak before 2021 and will be similar in size to the first waive only if transmission is maintained at current levels and mortality under reporting (or under ascertainment) remains at 3%. However, second wave will be larger than the first one if the mortality under-reporting is 5%.

“The high levels of immunity found after the end of the first wave can be explained by under reporting of deaths due to COVID-19”, the report explains.

The report focusses on understanding the true mortality due to COVID-19 to provide a more complete understanding of the size of epidemics.

“It’s increasingly apparent and saddening the extent to which COVID19 has been able to spread largely unobserved in some parts of the world,” said Dr Oliver Watson, a report co-author.


A mitigated COVID-19 epidemic, where there is slowing but not stopping of epidemic spread, occurred in Khartoum between April and September 2020. Reductions in COVID-19 incidence during the first wave were due to both the implemented interventions and increasing immunity in the population, the research revealed.

The research shows that interventions were effective and lead to a reduction in the reproduction number from 3.5 to 1 by April 2020. Ending of stringent suppression measures in July resulted in transmission increasing, with continued increases in transmission resulting in rising above 1 during September.

“Lockdowns are not considered an option against the second wave in Sudan,” Dr. Maysoon Dahab of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said. “There is however a critical window of opportunity for communities to save thousands of the most vulnerable lives amongst them by supporting them to shield through this epidemic’s second peak,” Dr. Dahab added.

Researchers stress the importance of continued shielding of high-risk individuals to help reduce mortality during second wave in the absence of implementing new suppressive measures.

In addition, they emphasize that historic mortality investigations will help confirm the level of mortality missed, and inform the trajectory of the second wave and how long shielding should be maintained.





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