The World Health Organization(WHO) has growing concerns about the increase in Covid-19 variants, and its subsequent increase of new cases and infections in many African countries.
The biggest concern is because health care systems are not ready for an increase in cases, and the increase has been rapid and spreading.
Cases have been trending upwards in 14 countries in the past 10 days or so, with a 30% increase in new cases in eight countries. South Africa has recorded an increase in cases, with Gauteng(province) leading in infections. Winter is a big factor to consider when thinking about the increased risk of infection.
Medical experts believe that the increase in both cases and deaths across the continent is directly related to the spread of the new coronavirus variant, however, because the testing required to track the new variants isn’t easily available, it is a concern.
The variant that contributed to the high case numbers across southern Africa last year first appeared in South Africa and was named the Beta variant. This same variant has been recorded in 20 other African countries since. In addition, Nigeria has also recently identified a new variant of the virus, however, its contribution to increased transmissions in the country and on the continent is yet to be confirmed.
The presence of the variant first identified in the UK, named the Alpha variant, has been reported in 29 countries. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), has warned about rising fatality rates across the continent, saying 21 out of the 55 countries they monitor in Africa are reporting death rates above the global average of 2.2 %
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Written by Christian Mpazayabo