The second coronavirus wave in Egypt has been more widespread and dangerous than the first wave since it started in the winter, presented with different symptoms, and the public's non-adherence to precautionary measures, according to a study conducted by CAPMAS over the fourth quarter of 2020.
The state statistics agency released on Saturday a study conducted between 14 October and 29 December under the title 'Egypt between the first and second waves of coronavirus,' drawing conclusions from figures collected during different stages in the coronavirus pandemic in Egypt.
The study covers the second half of October when COVID-19 infections were steadily low, then November when numbers started to significantly grow, and then the spike in cases in the beginning of the second wave in late November.
The second wave reached its peak in January with the country recording 1,418 new cases on 31 December.
Egypt’s highest daily count to date was 1,774 on 19 June during the peak of the first wave.
The country turned the corner on the second wave in late January.
In February, the country has been reporting an average of 600 new cases every day.
The second wave of the pandemic was “more vicious” than the first wave, the study finds, noting that it only took 31 days for the daily number of infections to surpass 1,000 cases during the second wave, compared to the 85 days during the first wave.
The average number of daily infections was 598 between 22 November, the day when the second wave started, and 29 December, the day when the study ends.
During the first wave, the daily infections average was 429.
Egypt has officially reported 181,241 coronavirus cases and 10,590 deaths since the pandemic started.
People aged 46 and above represented 91.5 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in Egypt, according to the study. People aged 66 and above in that age group represented the most deaths, according to the study.
Deaths were lowest for the age group below 15-year-olds, representing only 0.2 percent, followed by the 15-45 age group, representing 8.4 percent of the total of coronavirus deaths.
The study, which was conducted over 11 weeks, found that the percentages of coronavirus infections among men was slighly higher than among women.
Therefore, the study concluded that this slight difference does not reflect a clear role for gender in the infection rate.
Females are less susceptible to viral infection compared to males based on innate immunity and steroid hormones, the study said.
It added that the levels of immune responses in females are higher than males.
Cairo governorate had the largest number of coronavirus infections in the country during the period of the study while Alexandria had the largest death toll.
However, Matrouh governorate, with 504,000 residents, ranked first nationwide in terms of the infection rate per one million citizens.
Port Said, with 779,000 residents, ranked first in coronavirus deaths per one million citizens.
When comparing the number of deaths to infected cases in various governorates, North Sinai came first.
Aswan, Cairo and Alexandria had the largest numbers of infections and deaths among foreigners nationwide during the period of the study.
The growth rate of infections over the study weeks varied from one governorate to another, CAPMAS said, which indicates the existence of a relation between geographical location and the speed of the pandemic's spread.
“The reason for the high growth rates of infections may be due to the wrong behavior of some citizens, increased contact, and failure to adhere to the precautionary measures, which resulted in an increase in the speed of the disease spread,” the study said.
Egypt’s global position
Egypt ranked 64th worldwide in the number of coronavirus cases over the period of the study, the third in Africa and the 12th among Arab states.
The country came in 34th place worldwide in terms of the coronavirus deaths and in the second place among Arab countries and Africa.
The study says these figures reflect an improvement in Egypt’s global position on coronavirus cases and deaths between the end of the first wave and the second wave.
New and stricter measures
The government had taken starting 16 December new and stricter precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic in the second wave, including plans to vaccinate the population.
Egypt started in January to vaccinate medical workers and is preparing to vaccinate the elderly and people who suffer from chronic diseases during the coming days.
The country has imported hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses, mainly China's Sinopharm, and is set to receive 8.6 million AstraZeneca doses soon.
Stricter precautionary measures taken by the government against the coronavirus since mid-December included swifter levying an EGP 50 for not wearing masks in closed areas and public transportation as well as postponement of mid term exams.
The government also lowered the attendance of employees in government authorities and institutions and maintained a ban on weddings in closed halls.