Health crisis: Why is Africa less infected with coronavirus?

Why, is Africa less infected with coronavirus? Since the beginning of the health crisis, a handful of specialists agree that the lack of infrastructure could cause enormous damage in Africa. Despite these apocalyptic predictions, the continent seems to be spared so far. What could explain this state of affairs?

In spite of the appearance of the first case on the continent, last February 14 in Egypt, these experts continue their erroneous prophetic policies on a possible chaos. Despite these incessant catastrophic announcements from the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa remains the least affected continent at the moment for various reasons.

“Hospitals are reportedly overcrowded with patients, which is not the case,” the head of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC), John Nkengasong, told AFP last month about the brouhaha on the theory that statistics are falsified due to the lack of widespread testing.

Rapid decision making against coronavirus

Africa did not wait for a state of health emergency to see its governments take preventive decisions to stop the spread on their territories. “Even before the detection of the first cases of coronavirus on Rwandan soil, we took very early hygiene measures that were applied throughout most of the country,” Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, told RFI on Monday, April 6.

Thus other states, led by South Africa and other North African countries: Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, adopted containment and curfew measures before Covid-19 had time to spread.

A world population under control

Africa remains a sparsely populated continent in most regions. With 43 inhabitants per square kilometre, compared to 181 in Western Europe or 154 in South-East Asia.

These populations are generally concentrated in the capital cities, which were confined very early on. In Gabon, Greater Libreville was isolated from the rest of the country a few weeks ago. Same situation for Côte d’ivoire or Nigeria which, thanks to this low density, has drastically limited the transmission of the virus.

Low movement of people

Sub-regional integration, still in its embryonic stage, keeps a large part of the countries closed in on themselves. This de facto prevents the virus from circulating freely among the population.

This situation is completely contrary to that of Western countries where the flow of people is very lively. Without forgetting that in Africa the tourist sector has hardly been developed due to a lack of political will.

The absence of powerful foreign communities, of the size of India or China, which have left for one reason or another (school, professional, etc…) does not allow for round trips that could create a high rate of people.

Also, and especially out of the fifty or so busiest airports on the planet, only one is African, that of Johannesburg (South Africa).

The youth of its population

According to one statistical study, nearly 60 per cent of Africa’s population is under the age of 25. Knowing that the coronavirus particularly affects the elderly. The low mortality rate in Africa is more consistent. In contrast to severely affected countries such as France, Italy and Spain.

Another hypothesis, which holds true, is that in Africa there are fewer people testing positive for obesity, which remains a major risk factor for mortality from Covid-19.

A stronger immune system?

Recently researchers from the National Health Service (NHS) have shown a negative correlation between countries affected by malaria. This is explained by a possible protective effect of malaria treatments such as my chloroquine. However, the continent has 93% of malaria cases, according to the WHO. Worse, another study reveals that the systematic BCG vaccination deployed in Africa could explain the immunization of the population.

Conversely, countries with no universal BCG vaccination policies, such as Italy and the United States, are the most affected today by Covid-19. These substantive correlations do not in any way constitute possible links of cause and effect.

Still, caution is called for

This list, far from being exhaustive, allowed us to make a wide range of the few reasons that could explain the resistance, if not the preservation of the continent at a time when not everyone was betting on their skin.

However, African governments must draw inspiration from this health lucky star to strengthen their highly vulnerable health systems to avoid proving the case of these malandrins stamped as experts who are patiently waiting for their infamous wishes to come true.

Brice Emery MBENDJE


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