"A mathematical model to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 varient and control measures in Cameroon."
The COVID-19 pandemic that emerged from China has caused considerable morbidity and mortality across the globe. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), e.g., masking-up in public places, social-distancing, school and border closures, contact-tracing, etc., were crucial in curtailing the burden of the virus during the early stages, while development and use of highly effective vaccines have been useful during the later stages of the pandemic. Despite these non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical intervention measures, constraining the pandemic remains challenging in many parts of the world. This is due to several factors that include the emergence of new variants of concern against which existing vaccines are not very efficient, vaccine hesitancy, and low availability of vaccines in some parts of the world. In this study, a mathematical model is developed and used to study the combined impact of pharmaceutical interventions, pharmaceutical interventions, and various variants of concern on the burden of COVID-19 in Cameroon. The model is trained with COVID-19 case and vaccination data from Cameroon. Results of the study indicate that early application of NPIs (specifically masking-up with highly effective masks such as N95 masks) would have prevented the emergence of most of the cases in Cameroon. Additionally, the study shows that herd immunity can be attained if 81% of the population is fully vaccinated, and that this threshold is even higher in the case in which immunity wanes or more transmissible variants of concern are considered. Furthermore, the study shows that striking an appropriate balance between the number of fully vaccinated individuals and the number of individuals who mask-up regularly in public can lead to a drastic decrease in the number of cases in Cameroon.