Dr. Michael Owusu, a virologist at the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), has warned that the new Delta coronavirus strain from India may cause more deaths and hospitalizations in Ghana than previous versions discovered.
He pointed out that the Alpha variant resulted in a number of deaths and hospitalizations in the country but if utmost care is not taken to prevent the new Delta strain from infiltrating the general populace, it will increase the number of casualties the country has had on its hands.
Dr. Owusu said the number of people vaccinated so far are less than 1% of the population, hence the new strain should not be encouraged to run through the system.
He said the only way to prevent the new Delta strain from running through the system is to strictly enforce the adherence of the safety protocols in the country.
He said this in an interview with Emmanuel Samani on TV3‘s Midday Live Tuesday, June 22.
“If you look across countries like India, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Namibia, they are struggling. Some are begging for oxygen to be delivered to their facilities to manage their cases and we cannot allow that to happen,” he pointed out.
He added: “If you have monitored these viruses, the Alpha virus resulted in some number of deaths and hospitalizations in Ghana but if the Delta is allowed to run through the country, it is likely we will increase the number of deaths and hospitalizations. Because the number of people vaccinated is less than 1% so large people are still susceptible, therefore we shouldn’t do things that will encourage this strain to run through the system.”
Dr. Owusu entreated the government to ensure that the general populace strictly follows the COVID-19 safety protocols because once herd immunity has not been attained, the country is still susceptible to this new strain the World Health Organization(WHO) has described as “a variant of global concern” because of its fast and widespread nature.
He said even though the new Delta strain is virulent, people who have taken the AstraZeneca and the Sputnik V jabs can be protected from possible deaths and hospitalizations from the virus.
“So countries which have largely vaccinated their citizens have been able to reduce hospitalization to 50% and mortality rate close to 0%.”