Many African countries are widely praised for their effective response to curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Countries on the continent had taken steps to stem the spread of the virus from the start of the pandemic and reported declines in daily cases and deaths from about August.
Contrary to expectations, Africa has so far recorded a much lower number of Covid-19 cases and deaths compared to Europe, Asia, America or the Middle East. The continent, which makes up about 18% of the world’s population, is responsible for only about 3.2% of Covid-19 cases and 2.5% of deaths from the diseases worldwide.
But in recent weeks there has been a resurgence of new cases and deaths on the continent.
As the US and European countries report a resurgence of cases in what is referred to as the “second wave”, the resurgence of cases is seen in some African countries as the potential start of a second wave across the continent.
There has been a resurgence in Egypt, DR Congo and South Africa, which may be the beginning of a second wave, but in Kenya the picture is different. Kenya seems to be experiencing a second wave in full. More than 1,500 new cases were reported in November, more than the recorded cases (less than 1,000 cases) during the worst time of the country’s pandemic, before a decline in August.
Kenya now has more than 85,000 cases of Covid-19 and nearly 1,500 deaths, including 31 health workers. It has lost nine doctors, four who died in November. The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union threatened a national strike starting this weekend (Dec. 6) if the government failed to provide protective equipment and medical insurance for its members, and compensation for health workers who died from Covid-19.
Professor Kevin Marsh, a senior advisor and co-leader of the Covid-19 team at the African Academy of Sciences, says this resurgence in Kenya and South Africa depends on a second wave of how it is defined.
“There is certainly an increase in the number of cases and deaths in both countries after an initial decline. In Kenya, it is not clear whether this is a real increase in handover or whether it reflects cases entering city centers from further afield after the relaxation of movement restrictions, ”he says.
South Africa, which has reported the highest cases and deaths in Africa due to risk factors such as an older population and a high rate of HIV and TB infections, could have drastically reduced the number of daily cases and deaths. However, in the past week alone, the number of new cases has risen from about 2,000 to more than 4,000.
“It appears that there is a resurgence or an increase in the number of infections compared to a few weeks ago,” said Professor Glenda Gray, chair of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). “This revival could be the start of a new wave. The next peak will depend on interventions implemented to reduce community transmission. “
Gray says there is a discrepancy between the number of deaths expected in South Africa by this time this year and what is being observed. That is, there are more deaths in the country from Covid-19 than expected.
She says this may be due to underreporting of COVID-19 in death certificates, people who die from Covid-19 without a diagnosis, and additional deaths from illnesses such as HIV and tuberculosis at home.
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