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3 Things You Need to Know About COVID in Africa

June 30, 2021

In many parts of the world, after over a year of COVID lockdowns and mask-wearing, some people are finally beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel: vaccination rates are rising, COVID cases are falling, and COVID-era restrictions are gradually being lifted. While it may feel like the COVID pandemic is almost over in some parts of the world, the reality for many is strikingly different.  

In many parts of Africa, COVID cases continue to surge and access to vaccines, treatment, and medical equipment like oxygen and PPE are still extremely limited—and the situation will only get worse as many countries face a third wave. Right now, the pandemic is trending upwards in 14 countries, and daily confirmed cases across the continent remain over 5 million.

If we don’t take action now to fight COVID everywhere, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere. Here are 3 things you need to know right now about the current status of the COVID fight in Africa:

  1. Only 50% of people who become severely ill with COVID in Africa will survive.
  2. Weak health systems and lack of critical care resources are fueling the disproportionate death rate from COVID in Africa. In 10 surveyed countries in Africa, the average mortality rate among critically ill COVID patients is over 48%, higher than the global average of 31%.

  1. COVID threatens to overwhelm already weakened health systems in Africa, derailing decades of progress in the AIDS fight.
  2. The impact of COVID on health services may result in up to nearly 150,000 additional AIDS-related deaths and up to nearly 300,000 additional new HIV infections by 2022.

  1. At the current rate, most countries in Africa will not see widespread vaccination until 2023.
  2. Over 80% of COVID vaccine doses have been administered in high and upper-middle-income countries, while less than 1% have been in low-income countries. Most of Africa’s frontline health workers, elderly population, people living with HIV and other immunocompromised populations still don’t have access to the vaccine.

(RED) is fighting harder than ever to strengthen global health systems so that we can end COVID everywhere. This summer, you can join us in the fight by taking part in SUMMER REDISCOVE(RED), (RED)’s first-ever digital festival to fight COVID. Whether you’re interested in gaming, music, education, wellness, food, or shopping, SUMMER REDISCOVE(RED) makes it easy to support programs that help millions of people impacted by global health emergencies like AIDS and COVID.

Sources: The Lancet, UNAIDS, The Economist