Official statistics record that over 100,000 have now died of Covid-19 in Africa. Each one of those death is a tragedy. 100,000 is a lot of people. But the death toll is lower than many predicted when the first cases appeared in Egypt. So what is going on?
Firstly, this figure almost certainly under-reports the real numbers. Post-mortem testing at a university hospital morgue in Zambia published in the British Medical Journal for example showed that one in five were infected. Most die before reaching hospital without being tested. Secondly, the idea that Africa has been spared rings hollow in hotspots like Mozambique, Eswatini and Malawi where hospitals are struggling.
Unproven and dubious theories abound about the so called ‘African paradox’: vitamin D from sunlight giving extra protection or higher general exposure to disease due to poverty building stronger immune systems. What is true is Africa’s population is young. This is likely to be helping and many African countries already have hard won experience dealing with epidemics like Ebola and HIV.
Paradox or not, our world is interconnected. Covid-19 in Africa is bad for the whole world.
”As for me and my family, not all is well. According to the doctor we all caught a bad common cold. We went down to self-induced bed rest believing the doctor. Soon, my husband, who is diabetic, became seriously ill and was hospitalised. Due to difficulty in breathing and other complications he was tested for Covid-19 and put on oxygen. The results came out and were positive.
He was taken to the isolation centre in a very traumatic process for all of us. I broke down openly because of his underlying condition and due to the fact that we can’t visit him. In the process of treatment, his blood pressure went high and they are now managing it. I and my other family members are on self-home care as advised. Kindly, we need your prayers during such low moments.Revd Elizabeth CheruiyotSt Paul’s University, Kapsabet, Kenya
Give thanks that the spread of Covid-19 appears to be lower in Africa with fewer cases and deaths than many predicted. Pray that Revd Elizabeth’s husband, Bethuel, recovers quickly.
Restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19 are in place across much of Africa but with little government help for the millions who are losing earnings. Pray that local economies would quickly recover and for areas like Cabo Delgardo in northern Mozambique where extremists are taking advantage of the disruption to further their agendas.