JOHANNESBURG, 25 March 2021 – Africa recorded a higher number of COVID-19 cases during the second wave of the virus, but did not implement stricter measures, a medical study has found.

The Lancet article published Wednesday provides an analysis of COVID-19 case counts, response measures, and mortality rates”.

Over 10,000 Health Workers Among the Infected Across Africa - Photo WHO Regional Office

Over 10,000 Health Workers Infected in Africa – Photo WHO Regional Office

Wearing Face Masks to Curb the COVID-19 Spread - Photo Quartz

Wearing Face Masks to Curb the COVID-19 Spread – Photo Quartz

The study looks at full recoveries from COVID-19 infection and test data from all 55 African countries.

It covers the ten-and-a-half months period from 14 February 2020 through 31 December 2020, offering breakdowns by country and region and offering greater insights into the impacts of the virus.

“These insights reveal a need to improve testing capacity and reinvigorate public health campaigns,” the author of the study, also the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told reporters.

Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong - Photo Africa CDC

Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong – Photo Africa CDC

During that period, Africa recorded 2,763,421 COVID-19 cases with 65,602 deaths between 14 February and 31 December 2020, accounting for 3.4 percent of the 82,312,150 cases and 3.6 percent of the 1,798,994 deaths reportedly worldwide.

It highlights the diversity of the pandemic burden and response across the continent.

COVID-19 more severely hammered Africa’s northern and southern regions during both waves of the pandemic.

A high 43 percent of the reported COVID-19 cases and 46 percent of the deaths occurred in the southern region, whereas the central region was the least-hit with three percent of the reported casts and two percent of the deaths.

Southern and Northern Africa Worst-Hit Regions of Africa - Photo Izzso

Southern and Northern Africa Worst-Hit Regions of Africa – Photo Izzso

At the end of 2020, nine countries – Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tunisia – accounted for 82.6 percent of the cases (2,283,613) reported.

Five African countries – Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, and Tunisia – accounted for 77 percent of the deaths reported.

The Lancet study found that cases of new infections during the first wave peaked at 18,273 daily cases in July 2020.

The numbers rose to about 23,790 daily cases by 31 December 2020, with 73 percent of all African countries affected during the second wave.

Face Masks Have Proven very Effective in Curbing Spread - Photo Anadolu Agency

Face Masks Have Proven very Effective in Curbing Spread – Photo Anadolu Agency

Nearly all African countries – 96 percent of the continent’s nations – had put in place “five or more stringent public health and social measures in place” by 15 April 2020.

The number, however, fell to 72 percent by 31 December 2020, “despite an increase in cases in the preceding month,” the Lancet study noted.

As of Thursday, Africa had recorded 4,141,339 COVID-19 cases with 108,731 deaths and 3,619,193 full recoveries, according to data published Thursday by Africa CDC and Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

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