The second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic is proving more deadly in Africa, where the death rate now exceeds the world average, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced on January 21 (Africa CDC, link in English). The death rate of the new coronavirus in Africa now stands at 2.5% of recorded cases, above the world average of 2.2%, explained the director of this specialized agency of the African Union (AU) , John Nkengasong, at a press conference. The number of cases on the mainland rose 14% per week over the past month.
# COVID19 update in Africa as of 22/01/2021 at 9 AM EAT. Cases – 3,365,095., Deaths – 82,891 and Recoveries –2,822,123.
More at https://t.co/7xkrFH4etK#AfricaResponds #TestTraceTreat #FactsNotFear pic.twitter.com/SIkBu20LzM
– Africa CDC (@AfricaCDC) January 22, 2021
Since the start of the pandemic, Africa has officially remained one of the least affected continents, with 3.3 million cases of Covid-19 and almost 82,000 deaths, according to the organization. But the increase in the death rate marks a break with the first wave, when it remained below the global average, recalled John Nkengasong.
“We are witnessing a turnaround. This is one of the notable characteristics of the second wave, which we must fight hard.”John Nkengasong, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)
At present, 21 African countries have death rates above the world average of 2.2%. Among other examples given by the CDC, Sudan records a death rate of 6.2%, Egypt of 5.5%, Liberia of 4.4% and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – a member state of the AU – by 11.8%.
This excess mortality is caused by the acceleration in the number of cases, which is clogging health systems on the continent, according to John Nkengasong. The dynamics of the epidemic “exceeds the capacity of nurses and doctors to care for patients “, he explained.
“Patients are not getting the attention and care they need because we have a limited number of beds and supplies”John Nkengasong, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)
He particularly stressed the needs for oxygen, used to treat severe forms of Covid-19, which are becoming “reviews”. In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, health authorities report having to “choose which patients to take care of and which to refuse treatment”, he detailed.
Dr. @MoetiTshidi sheds light on the deployment of # COVID19 in Africa through the mechanism #COVAX. A 1st batch of 30 million doses should start arriving by March. Priority will be given to health workers & other vulnerable groups. pic.twitter.com/jScTDxHHpX
– WHO Africa (@OMS_Afrique) January 22, 2021
The AU announced last week that it had ordered 270 million vaccines for the continent, in addition to those planned through the Covax device, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and private partners for equitable access to vaccines. Negotiations are “In progress” with Russia and China to order additional doses, but “we don’t have an agreement at the moment”.