Nearly a quarter of a billion people across 47 African countries will catch coronavirus over the next year, but the result will be fewer severe cases and deaths than in the US and Europe, new research predicts.
A model by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for Africa, published in the BMJ Global Health, predicts a lower rate of transmission and viral spread across the continent than elsewhere, resulting in up to 190,000 deaths. But the authors warn the associated rise in hospital admissions, care needs and “huge impact” on services such as immunisation and maternity, will overwhelm already stretched health services.
About one in four (22%) of the one billion people in the countries measured would be infected in the first year of the pandemic, the model suggests. However the disease is likely to linger for longer – possibly for several years. The continent’s much younger age profile compared to other countries is behind the lower transmission rates, the authors say. Lower rates of obesity in African countries, compared to the US and elsewhere, also help to slow its progress.
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