Africa has held off the worst of COVID-19 mystifying scientists

many African countries so far offers crucial lessons for the rest of the world
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[COVID-19\Africa]
NBC: "Roughly nine months into the pandemic, which has sickened over 31 million people and caused more than 950,000 deaths around the world, most African countries have fared significantly better than other parts of the world."
Photo: YouTube

When the coronavirus first began spreading around the world, there was near-universal concern among experts that countries in Africa could be hit particularly hard, with high rates of transmission that could quickly overwhelm health care systems.

But roughly nine months into the pandemic, which has sickened over 31 million people and caused more than 950,000 deaths around the world, most African countries have fared significantly better than other parts of the world. The reasons are still something of a mystery — more research is needed, and some studies that aim to answer the questions are only just beginning — but scientists said the success of many African countries so far offers crucial lessons for the rest of the world and shine a light on how inherent biases can distort scientific research.

"The initial disease prediction models painted a very bleak picture of severe devastation of lives and economies in Africa," Dr. Sam Agatre Okuonzi, who works at Arua Regional Referral Hospital in northern Uganda, said Thursday in a World Health Organization news briefing. "In Uganda, it was predicted that by September, there would be 600,000 cases of Covid-19 and 30,000 deaths. But the reality is starkly different."

Uganda has 7,064 reported coronavirus cases and 70 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. South Africa, the hardest-hit country on the continent, has recorded more than 665,000 cases and 16,206 deaths. That represents about 28 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to more than 61 deaths per 100,000 in the U.S.

Yet even though other countries, such as Ethiopia, Algeria and Nigeria, have struggled with bigger outbreaks, most countries on the continent have succeeded so far in containing the virus's spread.

Part of that success owes to aggressive measures enacted early in the pandemic to restrict people's movements and slow transmissions within communities, said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa.

Read rest of story here: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/africa-has-held-worst-coron...

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