The third corona wave washes over large parts of the African continent. Now many fear Indian conditions.
For a long time, Africa was a kind of bright spot in the corona stories. Despite the broken backs of Europe and the United States, very few of the corona viruses have died across the vast African continent. Infection rates were also low.
The epidemic seemed to have saved sub-Saharan Africa. Experts who made dark predictions for Africa at the beginning of the epidemic scratched their heads.
Why was coronary heart disease so rare? In a region where physical distance is impossible in many cities and there is a shortage of clean water in many places?
Hope was short-lived.
Why did it go so well in the first place?
How did Africa first escape the plague? Researchers have explored many theories, some of which are more surprising than others.
At first, many feared that dark numbers were big. A BBC correspondent in South Africa has warned against believing official figures. Some were tested, and many may have died of the virus undetected.
But when one took into account a lower rating, it seemed even brighter. One theory is that Africans may have been exposed to other corona viruses in the past. An immunologist in Kenya found that every twentieth Kenyan between the ages of 15 and 64 had antibodies to the virus SARS-COV-2, which causes the Covit-19 (corona) disease.
Another explanation is that many countries have very young populations. The average age in Europe is 42 years, compared to 18 years for the average African.
The corona virus attacks the elderly much harder than the younger ones.
Ian Bremmer is a political scientist and heads the analytics firm of the Eurasia Group. In the weekly newsletter, he describes how climate plays an important role. Hot and humid climates reduce the spread of the virus. At least in the first virus types. The fact that people spend more time outdoors has the same effect.
What happened now?
But now it is back.
On June 26, it was recorded 30,000 new infection cases On the continent. That’s three times more than it was a month ago.
Doctors warn about the lack of hospital beds and the availability of oxygen. Many countries report higher infection rates since the onset of the epidemic.
Many fear that the continent is facing an epidemic similar to the one that hit India this spring. At that time, half of the world’s corona patients were in India. The corpses were filled to the brim, and long cremation rows caused the corpses to be cremated elsewhere.
– What is haunting me now is that the Indian situation could happen in Africa, says John Nkenkosong to the newspaper. Financial Times.
He is the Director of the African Epidemiological Survey (CDC). He describes the third wave as “very brutal.”
The toughest hit was South Africa. On Wednesday, the country registered 13,000 new cases of infection. At the beginning of April, this number was less than 800.
This situation has forced the country to impose President Cyril Ramaphosa Strict restrictions. They include a ban on the sale of alcohol and a curfew after kl. 21.
In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni warns of whole hospitals. Poor testing capabilities also make it difficult to get a complete overview of the spread of the virus.
How did it go wrong?
How did the epidemic worsen in Africa? One explanation is that the virus has also changed:
The so-called delta variant, formerly known as the Indian variant, is becoming increasingly widespread on the continent. It is highly contagious and causes more severe disease than previous types.
World Health Organization (WHO) It also indicates poor compliance with infection control measures. People move more and meet more often. In addition, Winter has announced its arrival. Low temperatures increase the risk of infection.
However, the biggest problem in Africa is the lack of vaccines. Only one percent is fully vaccinated. Of the total 2.7 billion vaccines prescribed worldwide, only 1.5 percent are used in Africa.
There are many reasons for bad statistics:
- Many countries have poor infrastructure. It is difficult to administer and distribute vaccines.
- The Kovacs vaccination program supplies vaccines to Africa. But many countries have already used the products, and many will run out, he writes Defender.
- Global distribution problems have also affected Africa. This month, South Africa had to Destroy 2 million levels Johnson vaccine after contamination scandal in the United States. The multi-million dose Astra Geneca was also rejected after the vaccine was found to be less effective against the new variant.
- In addition, there is one Widespread vaccine suspicion On the continent. In some cases, unused doses have become obsolete.
WHO: Still Possible to Stop Growth
Ian Bremer of the Eurasia Group says Africa needs more attention in the future.
– Generally the health service is weak, so it is more likely to have a high load. Relatively small eruptions can lead to many deaths, he points out.
In some places, however, there may be reason for optimism. In South Africa, authorities are in the final stages of approving both China’s Sinovac vaccine and the Russian Sputnik vaccine. In addition, large distributions are coming from both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
There is a clear call to the head of the World Health Organization in Africa, Matsidiso Moiti:
– Africa can still mitigate the effects of these rapidly increasing infections, but the chances are dwindling. Everyone should do their part by taking precautions to prevent infection.