The Coronavirus Pandemic Threatens To Claim Between 300,000 And 3.3 Million Lives In Africa
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), which is part of the United Nations, warned that if appropriate measures are not taken, the number of deaths in Africa from the new coronavirus will be more than 300 thousand in the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario calls for up to 3.3 million deaths, the Associated Press reported Friday.
The total number of people infected with the new coronavirus in the worst-case scenario will reach 1.2 billion in Africa, according to the report presented by ECA, "COVID-19: protecting the lives and economies of African countries." Under the best option, which involves "intensive social distancing," the number of infected people on the continent will be 122 million.
"In Africa, 56% of the urban population lives in slums and houses that lack basic amenities, including running water," the document emphasizes. All this creates conditions for the uncontrolled spread of a new coronavirus. Densely populated cities and existing health problems in African countries make the continent "particularly susceptible" to the new coronavirus, the report says. It notes that" of all the continents, Africa has the highest prevalence of diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV."
In the best-case scenario, the pandemic in Africa will require $44 billion, in the worst-case scenario, the continent's countries will need $446 billion to fight the new coronavirus.
The ECA leadership called on the international community to help African countries fight the pandemic. "The continent's economic growth will slow to 1.8%, leaving 27 million people in extreme poverty," said Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of ECA.
The ECA report is based on research on the effects of the pandemic conducted by Imperial College London.
Michel Yao, an emergency operations manager for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa, said that in the next six months there will be up to 10 million seriously ill people infected with the new coronavirus in African countries. "Only public health efforts can reduce this number of cases," he said during a briefing last Thursday.
WHO is also concerned about the ongoing spread of a new coronavirus from major African cities to the interior in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, and Ghana. "While these countries are focused on prevention measures, they cannot treat people who are ill in intensive care," Said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Director for Africa. She pointed out that African countries urgently needed artificial lung ventilation.