Africa has already seen its most deadly week of the epidemic, but the worst is yet to come as the third wave sweeps over the continent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Africa has just experienced its most challenging pandemic week in history. But the worst is yet to come as the fast-moving third wave gains momentum and new territory, “Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, who’s regional director for Africa, told the site Natation. Cases are doubling every 18 days, up from every 21 days only a week earlier, she stated during a virtual news conference, adding that “the end of this steep increase is yet weeks away.”
Coronavirus infections have been increasing across Africa since the start of the continent’s third wave on May 3. More than 251,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported across the continent during the week ending July 4, a 20% rise over the previous week and a 12% increase from the previous January high. The virus has resurfaced in sixteen African nations, with the more infectious Delta variant found in ten of them.
South Africais the worst-affected nation in Africa. New daily infections reach a record high of 26,000 cases over the weekend, thanks to the Delta strain. Vaccination rates remain low, with just 16 million Africans, or 2% of the population, completely immunized. Moeti, on the other hand, said there was reason to be optimistic since vaccination supplies were ramping up after coming to a stop in May and early June.
More than 1.6 million vaccine doses have been sent to Africa in the last two weeks via the Covax program, which was established to guarantee fair delivery of vaccinations to poorer countries. A cargo of 20 million Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech products from the United States is expected to arrive shortly and be dispersed to 49 nations. Donations from Norway and Sweden are on the way.
Talk Becomes Action
“Our calls for “us first, not me first” are now translating into action. The supplies, however, cannot arrive fast enough since the third wave is looming over the continent, “She said. Africa has received 66 million pills and given 50 million of them thus far. Moeti encouraged governments to increase vaccination locations and take other steps to take advantage of vaccine supplies when they arrive.
According to the most recent data, Africa has officially recorded 5,730,638 Covid-19 cases and 147,125 fatalities. According to health experts, the continent’s current wave of illnesses is being driven in part by more infectious varieties such as delta and is sending more young people to the hospital as nations struggle to get vaccination doses.
According to WHO statistics, cases have been increasing throughout the continent for seven weeks in a row. Infections increased 20 percent in the seven days ending July 4 compared to the previous week, according to the organization, which also recorded a 23 percent rise in deaths in the African area over the same time.
“Africa has just experienced its most catastrophic pandemic week in history,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, in a statement. “However, the worst is yet to come as the fast-moving third wave gains momentum and fresh ground.”
Sixteen African nations are currently witnessing a comeback, with at least ten detecting the delta strain. On Thursday, Nigeria reported its first confirmed delta case, which was discovered in a visitor tested upon arrival, according to the country’s Center for Disease Control.
Some of the most severe outbreaks occur in southern and eastern African nations, including Namibia, Uganda, and Zambia. South Africa, the continent’s hardest-hit country, recently recorded the greatest number of new infections and deaths, with a 46 percent rise in viral mortality in the week ending July 4. “The end of this steep increase is yet weeks away,” said Moeti of the continent-wide surge. “Cases are currently tripling every 18 days.”
According to the WHO, little more than 1% of Africa’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are completely immunized. And, amid a worldwide supply crisis, supplies to the continent through the Covax program almost came to a stop last month. “However, there are indications of improvement in vaccine delivery,” the WHO said this week.
On Thursday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it had inked a deal to provide the African Union with up to 220 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of 2022.
These doses would be added to previous vaccine deliveries made via Covax, a United Nations-backed program to ensure fair distribution of coronavirus vaccinations globally