Worst week for Africa since COVID-19 pandemic started, more to come

Continent experiencing worst week on record and officials see things getting worse in coming weeks.

According to the World Health Organization’s head for the Africa region, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, this past week was the worst on record for the continent since the pandemic started, with COVID-19 cases jumping 20% over the seven days leading up to the 4th of July. To make matters worse, the situation is only expected to get worse in the coming weeks, with about sixteen countries seeing a surge in reported cases. A record 251,000 coronavirus cases were reported across the continent during the week in question, and infections are now seen doubling every 18 days. “For Africa the worst is yet to come as the fast moving third wave continues to gain speed and new ground in countries,” said Moeti, who sees the end to the current wave still several weeks away.

The recent spike has been largely fuelled by the highly transmissible delta variant, which is believed to now be the dominant variant across many regions. On the vaccination front, the continent is lagging most of its counterparts, with less than 2% of Africans fully vaccinated to date. While several African countries have taken steps to source their own vaccines, the bulk of deliveries have been through the Covax initiative. More than 1.6 million doses have been delivered through the initiative over the past two weeks. Mozambique and Zambia received donations from France earlier this week, with Kenya also having received 182,400 AstraZeneca shots a few days ago. An additional 20 million Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. shots are expected to arrive from the U.S. imminently.