The coronavirus could “smolder” in Africa for years and take a high death toll across the continent, the World Health Organization has warned. The virus is spreading in Africa, but so far the continent has not seen a dramatic explosion in the number of confirmed cases.
What We Know:
- As of late, there are a reported 54,434 confirmed infections and 2,084 virus-related deaths in African countries, according to figures released Friday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of cases has risen by more than 42% in the past week alone.
- It’s stated the disease appears to be spreading more slowly across Africa than in Europe, according to the WHO report. Officials say that could be due to poor surveillance or less developed transport links.
- The WHO estimated that if no containment measures are taken, COVID-19 could cause deaths ranging from 83,000 to 190,000 people in Africa in the first year of the pandemic. Based on a prediction model of 47 African countries, as many as 44 million of the continent’s 1.3 billion people could be infected during the same period, the U.N. health agency estimated.
- “While COVID-19 likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smolder in transmission hotspots,” stated Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa who is based in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
- Of course it’s noteworthy to reiterate, these estimates are if no containment measures are taken. The reality is that over 40 African countries have implemented similar measures to reduce the spread of the virus such as, nationwide lockdowns, curfews, closed schools and banned public gatherings.
Africa, which has most of its population under 20 years old, is suspected to be experiencing a slower rate of transmission, due to the known fact the virus is known to affect the elderly at a much deadlier rate. Thus causing less severe cases and deaths.