The trajectory of COVID cases in Africa is “extremely worrisome,” the WHO’s head of emergencies, Dr Michael Ryan, estimated on Friday, with more infectious variants spreading and a dangerously low vaccination rate.
According to data collected by the World Health Organization, there were 116,500 new infections in Africa during the week ending June 13, an increase of 25,500 from the previous week.
Dr Ryan noted that the entire continent doesn’t look too bad, accounting for just over 5% of the new cases recorded worldwide last week and 2.2% of the deaths.
But in some countries infections have doubled and are rising by more than 50% in others.
The third wave of COVID-19 cases is “swelling and accelerating” in Africa with the variables, and on Thursday it already alerted the office of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the continent, calling for an increase in vaccine supplies.
Like Dr Machidiso Moeti, WHO Director for Africa, Dr Ryan noted that the continent is more vulnerable because it has received so few COVID vaccines, when Europe or the US have high immunization rates that allow them to return to a more normal life with a significant drop in Injuries and deaths.
“The stark reality is that in a region with many of the most contagious variants potentially having a stronger impact, we have left large parts of the population and vulnerable populations in Africa deprived of vaccine protection, while health systems are already fragile,” said Dr. Ryan.
“This is the result of the unfair distribution of vaccines,” he insisted.
This is especially true for Africa where only 1% of the population is fully immunized.
Africa has so far been less affected by the epidemic than other regions, but that does not mean that it will remain so.
“It is completely premature to think that the next wave in Africa will be just a short rain, not a storm,” the doctor said. And to add: “I think we have to take what’s happening in Africa very seriously.” (Rate)