Scientists baffled and wary as Africa avoids COVID-19 disaster

at a busy market in a poor township outside Harare, Nyasha Ndou kept his mask in his pocket like hundreds of other people, usually unmasked, pushed to buy and sell fruits and vegetables displayed on wooden tables and plastic plates. In the capital as in a lot of of Zimbabwe, the coronavirus is rapidly being relegated to the past, such as political rallies, concerts and home meetings have returned.

“COVID-19 is gone. When do you have last to belong of anyone who has passed away of COVID-19?” Ndou said. “The mask is to protect my pocket,” he said added. “The police demand bribes, so I lose money if i don’t move in the surroundings of with a mask.”

Days earlier Zimbabwe registered just 33 new COVID-19 cases and zero deaths, in line with An decline in the sickness over across the continent, where data from the World Health Organization show that the number of infections has decreased since July.

When the coronavirus first emerged last year, health officials feared the pandemic could spread over Africa would spread, killing millions. That catastrophic scenario has yet to become a reality in Zimbabwe of a lot of of the continent.

Scientists emphasize that met especially getting accurate COVID-19 data in African countries with patchy surveillance, is difficult and warn that declining coronavirus trends can easily change.

But there’s something “mysterious” going on on in Africa that scientists in confusion, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chairman of global health at Columbia University. “Africa does not have the vaccines and the resources to… fight COVID-19 die they have in Europe and the US, but on the one of other way they seem to do better,” she said.

Less than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described the continent as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.

Some researchers say the continent… young population — the mean age is 20, versus about 43 in Western Europe — as well as its lower rate of urbanization and the population’s tendency to spend time outdoors, it may have the more deadly effects of the virus so far. Investigate various studies of there may be other explanations, including genetic reasons of past infection with parasitic diseases.

Researchers work on Fridays in Uganda said they found that COVID-19 patients with high scores of exposure to malaria were less likely to develop serious disease of death then people with small history of the mosquito-borne disease.

“We’ve gone into this” project thinking we would see one higher rate of negative outcomes in people with An history of malaria infections, want that was seen in patients met co-infection with malaria and Ebola,” says Jane Achan, a senior research advisor to the Malaria Consortium and co-author of the study. “We were actually quite surprised to see the opposite – that malaria is a protective effect can have.” effect.”

Achan said this may indicate that: past infection with malaria can “weaken” the tendency of the immune system system in going overdrive when infected with COVID-19. The research was presented at a meeting on Friday of the American Society of Tropical medicine and hygiene.

Christian Happi, director of the African Center of Excellence for genomics of Infectious Diseases at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria, authorities said in Africa is used to curbing outbreaks even without vaccines and has credited the vast networks of community health workers.

“It’s not always about how a lot of money you have of how your hospitals are sophisticated,” he said.

Devi Sridhar, Chairman of global public health at university of Edinburgh, said African leaders have not been given credit die they deserve for Act quickly; she quoted Mali’s decision to close the borders before the coronavirus arrived.

“I think there is a different cultural approach” in Africa, where these countries have approached COVID with a feeling of humility because they’ve been through things like Ebola, polio and malaria,” Sridhar said.

In past For months, the coronavirus has ravaged South Africa and is estimated to have killed people more than 89,000 people there by far the most deaths on the continent. But for now African authorities, while recognizing that there may be gaps, are not reporting huge numbers of unexpected fatalities die possibly related met the coronavirus. WHO data show that COVID-19 deaths in make Africa up just 3% of the global total, while deaths in account America and Europe for 46% and 29% respectively.

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, government has recorded nearly 3,000 deaths among its population of 200 million. The US records that every two of many deaths for three days.

The low numbers have Nigerians like Opemipo Are, a 23-year-old in Abuja, relieved. “They Said There Will Be” dead bodies on the streets and stuff, but nothing? like that happened,” she said.

On Friday, the Nigerian authorities began met An campaign to significantly expand the West African nation’s COVID-19 vaccinations. Officials push for vaccination half the population before February, a target they think will help they achieve herd immunity.

Oyewale Tomori, a Nigerian virologist who sit on several WHO advisory groups, suggested Africa might not need as many vaccines as the West. It’s a controversial idea that he says is seriously discussed among African scientists – and is reminiscent of of the British officials proposal made last March to release COVID-19 the . to infect population until build up immunity.

That doesn’t mean vaccines aren’t necessary, though in Africa.

“We need have everything vaccinated prepare out for the next wave,” said Salim Abdool Karim, an epidemiologist at the University of South Africa of KwaZulu-Natal, who advised the South African government on COVID-19. “Looking at What Happens” in Europe, the probability of more spill cases over here is very high.”

The consequences of the coronavirus has also been relative muted outside Africa in arm countries like Afghanistan, where experts predicted outbreaks would amid ongoing conflict? prove disastrous.

Hashmat Arifi, a 23-year-old student in Kabul, said he hadn’t seen it anyone wearing a mask in months, including at a wedding die he attended next to hundreds of visitors. In his university classes, more than 20 students are routinely exposed in close neighbourhoods.

“I have not seen any cases” of corona lately,” said Arifi. Afghanistan has recorded about 7,200 deaths among its 39 million people, although little was tested during the conflict, and the actual numbers of cases and deaths are unknown.

Back in Zimbabwe, doctors were grateful for the COVID-19 hiatus – but feared it was only temporary.

“People should remain very vigilant,” warned Dr. Johannes Marisa, President of the medical and dental private practitioners of Zimbabwe Assn. He fears another coronavirus wave is coming hit Zimbabwe next month. “Complacency is what’s going to happen” destroy us, because we might be caught unknowingly.”

Read More: World News


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