Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa?

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Nigeria has been one of the worst-affected countries

Africa is seeing coronavirus cases rapidly increasing and deaths rising, based on the World Health Organization (WHO).

We’ve viewed the situation throughout the continent, and examined which countries are of most concern.

How fast is coronavirus spreading?

In terms of overall numbers, Africa currently accounts for merely a small proportion of total global cases, but the acceleration in rates of disease in some countries is clearly a reason for concern.

While it took not exactly 100 days for Africa to reach a short 100,000 cases, it took only 18 days for that to double to 200,000. It doubled again to 400,000 cases over the next 20 days.

The upward trend in Africa is needs to resemble the rest of the entire world that have been poorly hit by the coronavirus. Most African countries are actually experiencing community transmission, based on the WHO.

This is whenever a person gets Covid-19 with out been in contact with a known case from abroad or a confirmed domestic case, which makes it hard for for the authorities to track down the foundation of an area outbreak.

Where are Africa’s hotspots?

The two countries with the best numbers of cases are South Africa and Egypt. They accounted for over 60% of all the new cases reported in late June.

South Africa gets the highest recorded number of total cases, while Egypt gets the largest amount of recorded coronavirus deaths.

South Africa, which imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in late March, has seen cases rise steadily after this was relaxed in early May.

The Western Cape province (where Cape Town is located), makes up about nearly half all cases in the nation and more than half of the deaths. But cases are steadily rising in Gauteng province, which include Johannesburg.

Egypt has seen case numbers rising rapidly since mid-May, but you can find indications that may will have reached a peak with recorded new infections levelling off slightly in early July.

There is also concern in what is happening in Nigeria, which recorded the second-highest increase in deaths from Covid-19 after South Africa in the WHO report for 1 July.

Confirmed cases round the world

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Source: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies

Figures last updated

6 July 2020, 09:44 BST

Note: Data for Egypt can be found by selecting the Middle East region from the drop-down menu in both the map and country table below.

Mauritania in West Africa in addition has seen a steep increase in cases, and has been among those recording the highest increases in recent weeks.

It’s worth stressing that elements of the continent have seen relatively few cases, such as some areas of East Africa.

In fact, the most recent WHO Africa region report said just 10 countries accounted for more than 80% of all the reported cases on the continent.

How many individuals are dying in Africa?

The over all death rate has been low set alongside the global average, despite the fact that many countries have poor health infrastructure.

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This information is regularly updated but may not reflect the latest totals for each country.

** The past data for new cases is a three day rolling average. Due to revisions in how many cases, the average cannot be calculated for this date.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies and UN population data

Figures last updated: 6 July 2020, 09:44 BST

The WHO says this might be partly due to the relatively young population in Africa – more than 60% under the age of 25. Current analysis suggests a lesser mortality rate in younger people.

But there are still five countries with death rates that are much like or higher compared to the most recent worldwide average rate of 5% deaths from confirmed cases:

  • Chad (8.5%)
  • Algeria (6.6%)
  • Niger (6.2%)
  • Burkina Faso (5.5%)
  • Mali (5.3)

Githinji Gitahi, the pinnacle of Amref Health Africa, an NGO which specialises in health matters, says the higher rates could be a sign of greater infection levels than those being recorded, but it could also be due to relatively low levels of testing. The fewer tests you carry out, the fewer confirmed cases you discover, and so the amount of deaths appears relatively high.

The WHO says using community surveillance, where community health workers and other frontline staff report Covid-19 deaths, could be behind the high death rate reported, for example, in Chad.

How much testing is done in Africa?

Ten countries take into account about 80% of the full total tests conducted – South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

There are wide variations in testing rates, with South Africa doing the most and Nigeria doing relatively few, according to Our World in Data, a UK-based project which collates Covid-19 information.

On 4 July, South Africa was doing just over 30 tests per 1,000 people, weighed against 72 in the UK and 105 in the US.

Nigeria is achieving 0.7 tests per 1,000 people, Ghana 10 and Kenya 3.

It’s worth pointing out that for a few African countries, it is impossible to learn what exactly is happening because of lack of any data or data being incomplete.

“We have to take the numbers with a pinch of salt,” says Chiedo Nwankwor, a lecturer in African affairs at Johns Hopkins University in the united states.

In Tanzania, President John Magufuli has voiced doubts about the validity of virus testing results at the national laboratory, and has allowed only limited data on infection rates and testing to be manufactured public.

Equatorial Guinea had a row with the WHO after accusing its country representative of inflating the number of Covid-19 cases. For a while it held straight back its data, but has started sharing it again.

And in Kano state in northern Nigeria, an unique spike of close to 1,000 deaths was reported in late April, nevertheless the government have not still confirmed how many were due to Covid-19.

Note: The graphics in this page make use of a different source for figures for France from which used by Johns Hopkins University, which results in a slightly lower overall total. US figures do not include Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands.

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