A virologist at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), Dr Michael Owusu, says the country is currently experiencing its fifth wave of the coronavirus.
He said the new wave can be attributed to the BA.4 category of the Omicron variant, adding that lack of adherence to safety measures coupled with vaccine hesitancy is likely to make the projected wave a challenge.
According to him, the new variant of the virus is likely to affect about 90% of the population as compared to previous variants which affected about 40% of the populace.
“Although I do not believe the new variant will be very deadly, I do believe it will be the most highly transmissible variant yet. As the pattern changes, I am looking forward to the President relooking at the E.I. again and possibly announcing some changes, especially in the control measures.
“The numbers we see on the screen – 203 [active cases] – as of this morning, I believe it’s almost two or three times that number because I have observed that with this current wave, we are in the fifth wave now,” he told David Akuetteh on Luv FM’s Luv in the Morning on Tuesday, June 28.
Dr Owusu said people need to understand that receiving the doses of the vaccine and booster shots is the most effective way to ensure adequate protection against the virus.
He said people should not wait until things become alarming before they consider being inoculated.
“I can’t understand why people believe the vaccine is laced by the west. Look at me; I’ve had all my doses and I’m sitting here very healthy. There is even proof from the East that the vaccine is effective, so people’s attitude makes no sense to me. Just because President Akufo-Addo is not telling you to wear a mask does not mean you cannot judge the situation for yourself.
“Unfortunately, people who choose to mask up in public places are targeted by society. People pass judgment on those who are simply doing their best to look after themselves and others,” the KNUST lecturer observed.
Dr Michael Owusu noted that other viruses and diseases, such as cholera and meningitis, have also seen a dip because of the safety measures Covid-19 has taught the nation to observe.
“It is more important than ever for us to start taking safety measures as this new variant is targeting more people than ever…especially infants and the elderly. We must take safety measures and the vaccine to protect those that are vulnerable in the population.”
According to Our World in Data, only 20.6% of the Ghanaian population is fully vaccinated with over 10 million people yet to receive any form of vaccination.
Experts say the new wave will continue to persist throughout the remainder of June and the entire month of July.
It is likely to peak towards the beginning of September.