A Death Every Hour

Burial. PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG
Burial. PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG

The death knock is getting louder; a knock too hard to ignore. Doors ajar, death has ruthlessly entered almost every homestead in a deadly period now spanning nearly 16 months.

But the last seven have been particularly fatal, with more than 1,000 lives lost. In August 2020, COVID-19 had claimed the lives of only six people in Botswana. At the end of December 2020, the death toll stood at 42. Botswana recorded its first case and death in March 2020. The death toll remained unchanged, with the next casualties in June.

Despite a rise in infections, the country recorded 42 deaths in 276 days, which was up to the end of December 2020. But there was a rapid acceleration in the death rate after the festive season, with the country recording its then, highest monthly tally of 106 in January. February proved even more deadly with 184 lives lost as the country battled to contain a second wave.

At the start of the year, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti announced new restrictions, including a ban on liquor sales and introduced a night time curfew. But the upward trajectory spilt into March as 259 people died due to COVID-19. There was a slight reprieve in April as recorded deaths fell to 133, with the second wave starting to die down. The figures rose marginally to 142 in May with the death toll curve hitting a plateau.


But the memories of the deadly period between January and March were revived when the country saw the death toll breach the 1,000 mark in June. The figures hit an all-time high of 292 last month, as the country entered a devastating third wave. Thus far 217 lives have been lost in July, with the death toll particularly horrific of late. The latest statistics released by the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force last Thursday indicating 47 people had died in three days between July 19 and 22.

Coffin. PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Coffin. PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE



The new trend indicates that every hour, nearly two people (1.56) succumb to COVID-19. Last week’s update saw the average of people dying every day due to COVID-19 at nearly 16. Overall, since the first death was recorded last year March, nearly three people die every day from the virus. In nearly 10 months, between March 2020 and December 2020, 42 people had died, but in just 203 days this year (up to July 22), 1,333 lives have been lost.

Editor's Comment
Seamless Business Environment Needed Post-COVID

The country was also classified as the least corrupt in the world with strong anti-graft checks and balances. With these assurances, investors were guaranteed safety on their investments and returns. That is no longer the case. Several countries like Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius have done well over the years and overtaken Botswana as attractive places to do business.Therefore, when countries that Botswana is competing with for a piece of...

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