8 Dec 2020 – Wired Article: It wasn’t meant to be this way. Officials said Covid-19 could directly kill at least 300,000 people in Africa and possibly as many as 3.3 million. In May, with infections and deaths still surprisingly low, the World Health Organisation revised that prediction down to between 83,000 and 190,000 deaths. To date, just over 40,000 Africans have lost their lives to Covid-19.
There is no single reason for Africa’s seemingly remarkable escape. For one, Africa isn’t a homogenous lump of land. Its 54 countries are ethnically and socially diverse. Yet, across the continent, there are some trends that hint at why deaths from Covid-19 remain so low. The median age in Africa, where more than 60 per cent of people are under the age of 25, is about half of that in Europe. This has played a significant role, says Denis Chopera, a public healthcare expert at the Africa Research Institute in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He also points to Africa’s warm climate and the potential of pre-existing immunity in some communities. “Africa has a high burden of infectious diseases, including coronaviruses, and it is possible that there is some cross-immunity which protects Africans from severe Covid-19,” Chopera says. The WHO has made similar suggestions. Read>>>
BMJ Global Health Article: “Health workers are essential for improved global health—but the COVID-19 pandemic is decimating them. Worse still, we don’t know the true toll the virus is taking on healthcare workers. In Africa, where the healthcare workforce of many countries was already desperately thin, the WHO counted nearly 42 000 sickened clinicians as of 9 September 2020, but the total number of infected surely outstrips that. And the pandemic is still unfolding: ongoing community transmission of the virus in many countries in Africa means far more casualties yet to come. Read>>>