The coronavirus hasn’t devastated Kenya yet. Its ripple effects, however, have proved deadlier here than the virus itself.

Police have killed at least 12 people while enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew that began more than two weeks ago, making Kenya’s lockdown one of the deadliest in the world. But the true death toll is higher still: an untold number of others have died because of the curfew itself and the fear prompted by police batons and bullets.

That fear gripped Vidia Nduku Mati and her husband as the delivery date for their baby approached at the end of March. They prayed that she wouldn’t go into labour in the overnight hours – but fate wouldn’t cooperate. It was the deep of night, well into curfew when the pain became unbearable

First, the midwife refused to come, saying she feared the policemen in their rural community who a day earlier had beaten even the people who raced inside their homes, Vidia’s husband recalled.

Their last resort to get to a hospital, a motorcycle taxi driver named Festus Nzuki, also declined, even though he was a close friend and could hear the pain in her voice over the phone. Police had beaten his mother-in-law simply for sitting outside her house – they were merciless to her in plain sight of her children, Nzuki said.

The couple resolved to wait until curfew lifted, but then Vidia’s water broke, and blood gushed out instead.

“It was the longest wait of my life,” said Mati Nyamai, Vidia’s husband. “By the time Festus got us to the hospital in the morning, she was bleeding so much, she was drowning in blood.”

Police officers order a driver to turn around after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a ban on movement in and out of Nairobi

While human rights groups and police oversight agencies collect and verify reports of those killed directly by police during curfew enforcement – a number that is already higher than the country’s Covid-19 death toll of 10 – more, like Vidia and her unborn child, are dying uncounted.

“At least one a night since curfew began,” said Wilfred Olal, who coordinates a network of social justice centres in slums across Kenya that is trying to keep track of curfew-related deaths since the measure was put into place 19 days ago. “To be honest, we’ve lost count. It’s dozens. There are many more.”

The Kenyan government’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority says it has recorded 35 “watertight” cases of police brutality related to curfew enforcement, 12 of which resulted in death.