Africa COVID-19 deaths near 100,000 after second wave
Africa’s total reported death toll from COVID-19 was approaching 100,000 on Thursday, a fraction of those reported on other continents but rising fast as a second wave of infections overwhelms hospitals, according to Reuters.
The continent’s reported deaths, at 99,800, compare favourably with North America, which has registered more than half a million, and Europe, which is approaching 900,000, a Reuters tally shows.
But deaths are rising sharply across Africa, driven by its southern region, especially economic powerhouse South Africa, which accounts for nearly half. South Africa was ravaged by a second wave caused by a more contagious variant that has jammed up casualty wards.
“The increased number (of infections) has led to many severe cases and some of the countries really found it quite difficult to cope,” Richard Mihigo, coordinator of the immunisation programme at the World Health Organization’s Africa office, told Reuters.
“We have seen some countries getting to their limit in terms of oxygen supply, which has got a really negative impact in terms of case management for severe cases.”
Reuters data show Africa’s case fatality rate is now at around 2.6%, higher than the global average of 2.3%, and marginally up on the 2.4% rate after the first wave of infections - which at the time compared favourably with other continents.
Experts caution against reading too much into the data - the real toll may be much higher or lower. For instance, South Africa’s excess deaths - deaths considered over-and-above the normal rate - during the pandemic have reached over 137,000, almost three times its official COVID-19 death toll.