COVID-19 in Namibia: What the Data Says

Like every other nation on the planet, Namibia has been battling covid-19. Whilst a lot remains to be desired from the Namibian government, it has done a lot in putting measures in place that help curb the spread of the virus and save people’s lives while simultaneously safeguarding the livelihoods of the people. In this article, we delve into the global covid data obtained from https://covid.ourworldindata.org, to analyse the covid-19 trends in Namibia, and juxtapose those against other countries to see how the country is being impacted by COVID-19 relative to some of the most affected countries.

This is a data visualization project, so the discussion in this article is limited to that. An in-depth statistical analysis of the pandemic will follow this article soon, so be on the lookout for that.

Namibia’s COVID-19 Trends

The graph above shows three separate times that the new cases per day spiked. The first happened around the beginning of August 2020 and continued at that rate until around the end of September 2020. This was Namibia’s first wave. The second spike starts sometime in December 2020 and started to regress to normal sometime at the end of January 2021. This can be characterized as the second wave. The third spike started at the beginning of May 2021 and has currently peaked on 16 June 2021 with a record high of 2075 new cases in a single day. We are unable to tell if 16 June would be the highest during this 3rd wave, however, if history is anything to go by, it likely is going to be (also consider that the number of new confirmed cases on that day is an outlier). Moreover, it is also likely that this wave would last for another few weeks to a month, based on the trend from the first two waves. Also, note that this wave has Namibia record the most cases per day and frequently. This means that the normal that the number of cases would regress to after the wave is over is still likely to be higher than the first two waves.

When we juxtapose the number of new cases and the number of new tests per day, it reveals something interesting. The highest peaks at every point coincide with the highest number of new tests, and this happens at the peaks of all 3 waves. For example, the highest number of cases recorded in a day is on 16 January, and these results were obtained from the most tests that Namibia has contacted in a day. This gives credibility to the long-standing theory that Namibia is recording a relatively low number of cases per day because it is doing relatively few tests per day. There is thus a need for a strengthened testing campaign.

The trend we have seen so far continues similarly with the number of New deaths per day. Every wave is associated with a simultaneous high number of recorded deaths per day. As the wave regresses to normal, so do the number of deaths. The third wave that Namibia is experiencing has the highest number of daily deaths, and also the highest cumulative number of deaths when compared to the first two waves, primarily because it also happens to have the highest number of daily positive tests. This makes sense. Every wave is associated with a high rate of the spread of the virus, which means that a lot of vulnerable people are at risk of catching it, and needing hospitalization. More people needing hospitalization often places a big burden on and overwhelms the healthcare system, which consequently results in more people succumbing to the virus. It is our collective responsibility then to limit the length of the wave by adhering to covid-19 protocols as prescribed by the government and by getting vaccinated to help reduce the number of people in need of hospitalization.

Nothing much is to be said about the Total number of cases in Namibia, except that the total number has been growing in an approximately exponential manner in the last few weeks. This is bad news if nothing drastic is done to reduce the daily infection rate.

Namibia vs. The Rest of the world

Namibia’s population is significantly smaller than all the countries listed, so for the comparison to be possible, and to yield any real results, we used per hundred thousand people numbers.

The two graphs above show how the number of new case per day in Namibia compare to that of India. In the past few months, India was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. This period is shown on the graphs as the days between 01 April 2021 and June 2021. However, when we do compare Namibia and India, we found that Namibia has a higher per day infection rate per hundred thousand people at almost every point. This means that when we confound for the population size differences, more people in Namibia are getting infected (per day) with the virus in Namibia than in India. Important to note is that the second graph shows a solid line for India and a broken one for Namibia. This indicates that, though fewer people test positive per day in India, the positive results happen a lot more frequently there, than they do in Namibia.

The number of new deaths between Namibia and India also follow the same trend as shown by the graph below

This suggests that Namibia is recording significantly more deaths per day than India, though not as frequently.

When a Similar comparison is made between Namibia and Countries like the USA, and Brazil, Namibia appears to be having lower new daily infection rates than those countries. This is illustrated in the graph below:

Note that in the last month or so, significantly fewer new cases have been recorded in the USA when compared to Namibia. This, in my opinion, can be attributed to an intensified vaccination campaign in the USA.

When similar comparisons are made between Namibia, and its closest neighbor, South Africa, the data shows a similar/comparable trend.

The graph also shows that Namibia and South Africa have had their waves at the same time almost all the time. This is not a surprise considering how close in proximity these countries are to each other. This trend is also illustrated by the number of new deaths per day per 100 000 people.

In analysing deaths, i was also interested in knowing how the daily number of deaths compare between Namibia and the United States (The country with the most total covid-19 deaths in the world).

The USA has had a peak in their daily deaths sometime in January 2021 and has since been on a downward trend. On the other hand, Namibia’s daily deaths have been on an upwards trend. Sometime in April 2021, Namibia started recording more deaths per 100 000 people than the USA, and this trend has continued to today. With a lot of US states relaxing covid-19, and a relatively robust campaign, i am left to conclude that the US daily deaths trends explained above are related to their strong vaccination campaign.

PS: I tried to do a visualization that involves vaccine numbers, however, the dataset had too many null values for the vaccination variable. that made the analysis impossible to do.

To finish off the analysis, below is a graph that visualizes total deaths due to covid-19 in the countries i have been comparing.

As you can see, it appears like countries like the United States, France, And the United Kingdom have started to plateau, while Namibia appears to be on the increase.

Last words

I hope that this analysis has given you a simple and easy-to-follow overview of COVID-19 in Namibia, and perhaps the rest of the world. A follow-up to this article will be an in-depth statistical analysis of how the virus has impacted Namibia specifically. Be on the lookout for that.

MSc in Applied Statistics Candidate, Structural Equation Modelling Researcher, ML Researcher, Alarm clock snoozer.