The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the coronavirus outbreak seems to be taking a “different pathway” in Africa as compared to the rest of the world. As the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa surpassed 100,000 on May 23, WHO noted that unlike other countries the number of coronavirus infections in the continent “has not grown at the same exponential rate”.
Despite the poor health systems in African countries, according to reports 3,100 people have died of COVID-19 in a continent with a population of more than a billion. Moreover, at least 41,400 people have even recovered from the fatal disease that was first detected in Africa 14 weeks ago. The preliminary analysis by the United Nations health agency suggests that slower rate of infections and deaths in the continent could be the outcome of “demography and other possible factors”.
The UN health agency suggested that since Africa is the youngest continent demographically, the coronavirus outbreak appears to have made a “soft landfall”. More than 60 per cent of the African population is below the age of 25 and according to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, it is possible that the “youth dividend is paying off” and resulting in a low mortality rate of COVID-19.
“For now COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world,” said Moeti.
“It is possible our youth dividend is paying off and leading to fewer deaths. But we must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases," he added.
Meanwhile, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also said that South America has become an “epicentre” of the COVID-19 pandemic as Brazil surpassed Russia's coronavirus infection and became the second-most affected country in the world. While the global infections have surpassed 5.2 million, there have been significant spikes in the COVID-19 cases in Central as well as South America.