COVID numbers lower in Kenya versus the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been dissected and discussed in many articles, stories on the news, and interviews. Everyone knows this pandemic stretches beyond the U.S. national lines, and people all over the world are being affected by this pandemic. 

Even so, there are countries with less deaths and less cases than in the U.S. According to, Kenya itself has had 100,000 cases and 1,700 deaths, which is significantly less than the amount the U.S. has, 26.6 million cases and 470,000 deaths. A total of 39 million vaccines have been distributed in the U.S. so far. 

“We haven’t had too many cases in Kenya in comparison to some more populated countries in Africa; I’m grateful for that,” said Evans Kiruri, a previous citizen of Kenya and recent U.S. citizen.

Kenya’s culture and the way the country was raised had a factor in how their numbers are so low. As a country, the government and its amount of power is much different than the way the U. S. is. 

“Our relationship between our country and our government is much more different than in the States. When I lived in the U.S., I noticed how much more freedom the U.S. was given with all the rights they have; it’s allowing normal citizens more power to speak up or to defy the government if they felt needed. Kenya doesn’t have the same rights. Our police force is a lot different too. We had police stops before COVID, but now they are more frequent and more obstinate. It may be harsh, but anyone who purposely does not listen to the rules can be beaten, fined or taken to jail. Though there are passes for those with jobs that require them to be out later. I have one myself,” said Tony Mudzon, a previous resident of the U.S. and most recent resident of Kenya.

The police force also has many different customs there than in the U.S. They are somewhat more strict and focus mainly on trying to make sure hygienic safety rules are followed. They have police stops and a curfew at 10:00 p.m. to ensure the safety of the country, which genuinely makes it harder to go against.

Kenya’s geography has also added some slight problems for the country. 

“Social distancing is a challenge in the rural areas, but at the same time people are still wearing masks,” Mudzon said.  

The heavily packed villages, towns and cities do not help when trying to keep distance, especially in the neighborhoods when houses are very close together. 

The United States country’s leaders don’t face problems like this pandemic often. Africa in general has faced many similar tragedies, including ebola, influenza, mass HIV/AIDS breakout, etc. 

“For Kenya, a mask is not a political statement. Here the fact is that Africa is not as resourced as the U.S. People know that they have to take care of themselves. Everybody tries as much as possible to listen to the rules. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t,” Mudzon said. 

This allowed the people of Kenya to understand the event and realize the severity with no reports of any revolts. 

Kenya as a country have completely committed to the safety of its people. 

“Everything the government has done is to make sure the people are adhering. The interesting thing is that people actually listen instead of waiting for the authorities to tell them to wear a mask or stay indoors,” Mudzon said. 

The fact that this is not the first time Africa has been through a nationwide attack made the country more prepared. In doing so, they shut down much earlier than the U.S. ( when they had only nine cases). The people of Kenya treat COVID much differently as well. Without rights like the U.S., their government has much more control over what they believe to be correct, and therefore the people of Kenya listen to the rules given without any defiance. Even those in poverty take time to create their own masks in order to keep others safe when in public. 

“People have also been making their own masks, especially those in poverty. They want to follow the rules as best they can,” Evans said. 

Kenya has not had the same problems that the U.S. has had either. A problem like playing sports or seniors graduating during this year with the pandemic has not been a problem for the country. The reason behind that being that their culture and the history of their education is more focused on other activities during school. Sports are seen more as a fun break or an activity not to be taken as seriously as it is in the U.S. Scholarships are mainly based on educational classes like sciences, history, law, business, mathematics, engineering, literature, and in some cases art. 

“Kenya has not had a problem like that the schools are shut down, and it’s harder for the poorer schools to continue without being in person, but the high schoolers and college students have not had any type of scholarship problems that involve sports. That is just not how it is here,” Mudzon said.

Businesses in Kenya were affected in ways that are different from the U.S. Kenya’s businesses rely on contact and face to face conversations for hospitality, while in the U.S., a lot of our businesses can be mainly based on using devices to buy and sell goods. The majority of the businesses in Kenya are not like that. 

“Businesses were definitely affected like hospitals, restaurants etc, that to some extent affected our economy, but what the government did was they reduced the taxes. They did a reduction of income tax; they were really just trying to cushion the blow for people during COVID. The first four or five months they really had an impact on our economy, especially the hostipitality types of businesses where it’s custom to talk to people and be around people a lot,” Mudzon said.

COVID-19 affects each country differently. There is no way to predict if countries will emerge from the disaster in a positive or negative way. The amount of cases and deaths in each country differs to what they have done, when they did something, and how large the country is.