Revealing the extent of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya based on serological and PCR-test data

Ojal J, Brand SPC, Were V, Okiro EA, Kombe IK, Mburu C, Aziza R, Ogero M, Agweyu A, Warimwe GM, Uyoga S, Adetifa IMO, Scott JAG, Otieno E, Ochola-Oyier LI, Agoti CN, Kasera K, Amoth P, Mwangangi M, Aman R, Ng'ang'a W, Tsofa B, Bejon P, Barasa E, Keeling MJ, Nokes DJ
Wellcome Open Res. 2021;6

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Policymakers in Africa need robust estimates of the current and future spread of SARS-CoV-2. We used national surveillance PCR test, serological survey and mobility data to develop and fit a county-specific transmission model for Kenya up to the end of September 2020, which encompasses the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the country. We estimate that the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic peaked before the end of July 2020 in the major urban counties, with 30-50% of residents infected. Our analysis suggests, first, that the reported low COVID-19 disease burden in Kenya cannot be explained solely by limited spread of the virus, and second, that a 30-50% attack rate was not sufficient to avoid a further wave of transmission.