South Africa, where a more contagious variant of COVID-19 has been identified, accounts for nearly half of the continent’s deaths.
Africans reported that the death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 100,000, a portion of those reported on other continents, but are rising rapidly as a second wave of infections invades hospitals.
The continents reported deaths, at 100,354 on Friday, are less than North America at more than half a million and Europe approaching 900,000, a Reuters number shows.
But deaths are rising sharply across Africa, driven by its southern region, particularly in South Africa’s economic powerhouse, which accounts for nearly half of the total. South Africa was devastated by a second wave caused by a more contagious variant that has blocked victim wards.
The rising number (of infections) has led to many severe cases and some of the countries found it really difficult to cope, Dr. Richard Mihigo, coordinator of the immunization program in the office of the World Health Organization, told Reuters news agency. Health in Africa.
We have seen that some countries are reaching their limit in terms of oxygen supply, which has had a really negative impact in terms of case management for serious cases.
Mihigo said the increase in deaths was pronounced in countries near South Africa such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, raising the possibility that the 501Y V2 variant identified in South Africa late last year had spread to the South African region, although more genomic sequences need to be determined. done
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an international aid group, this month called for urgent distribution of vaccines in South Africa to counter the spread of the new variant, as most African countries lag behind the richest western countries. at the start of mass vaccination programs.
Reuters data show that the case fatality rate in Africa is now at around 2.6 percent, higher than the global average of 2.3 percent and slightly higher than the level of 2.4 percent after the first wave of infections. At that time, Africa was favorably compared to other continents.
Experts warn not to read too much into the data as the actual number may be much higher or lower. For example, the South African death toll considered above and above the normal rate during the pandemic has reached more than 137,000, almost three times the official COVID-19 death toll.
Then again, in some cases, low testing levels in Africa could inflate its true fatality rate (CFR), said Francisca Mutapi, an infectious disease expert at the University of Edinburgh.
If the deaths recorded as deaths from COVID-19 are not necessarily dependent on a positive test as is the case in South Africa, then this could raise the CFR, she said.
Even with these warnings, African countries seem to be battling COVID-19 more this year than they did before.
Are we counting all the deaths on the continent? No, but most people on the continent know someone who died of COVID during this second wave, CDC Africa director John Nkengasong told reporters last week.
Hospitals are overloaded because of health systems that are fragile.
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