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What has happened to COVID-19 in Africa?


WHO has for a long time repeatedly warned that the Pandemic “soon” will hit harder in Africa than in the rest of the world and constantly exhorted the Western world to supply vaccines to Africa?  But the Pandemic did not overwhelm Africa and the death rates are extremely low in spite of the fact that vaccines are more or less unavailable. It is a rather amazing story of less vaccines, less infection, and less mortality.

The number of deaths in COVID-19 per 100 000 inhabitants is very low in many of the countries in central Africa:
Burkina Faso0.89
South Sudan1.16
As compared to:

The above figures are collected from Johns Hopkins database 2021-09-27

The Conversation brings you vaccine and pandemic news from research experts

The Conversation is published by a large number of universities to bring evidenced based news to media. They suggest a few explanations for the low death count for Covid-19 in Africa.

  1. The young age demographic of sub-Saharan Africa. (Probably an important factor. Young people do not die from COVID-19.
  2. Lack of long-term care facilities. (Probably an important factor. Old people are taken care in their homes instead of nursing homes.)
  3. Potential cross-protection from local circulating coronaviruses. (Not much evidence for this factor)
  4. Limitations of SARS-CoV-2 testing. (This might be a very important factor. Without testing there is per definition no COVID-19 and the doctor will write something else in the death certificate – what we would call the underlying cause of death which more often than not is the “real” cause.)
  5. Effective government public health response. (This sounds farfetched. Would the public health response be more effective in Africa than in Europe?) 

One explanation that is not mentioned is that the medicine Ivermectin is regularly prescribed in all of Sub-Sahara Africa except South Africa. 

Another study notes that: “The incidence in mortality rates and number of cases is significantly lower among the APOC* countries compared to non-APOC countries. That a mass public health preventive campaign against COVID-19 may have taken place, inadvertently, in some African countries with massive community ivermectin use is an attractive hypothesis. Additional studies are needed to confirm it.” (COVID-19: The Ivermectin African Enigma, Rodrigo Guerrero  1 Luis Eduardo Bravo  2   3 Edgar Muñoz  4 Elvia Karina Grillo Ardila  5 Esteban Guerrero  6 )

*About APOC

Onchocerciasis – or “river blindness” – is a parasitic disease caused by the filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus transmitted by repeated bites of infected blackflies (Simulium spp.)

More than 99% of infected people live in 31 African countries. The disease also exists in some foci in Latin America and Yemen.

Community-directed treatment with ivermectin is the core strategy to eliminate onchocerciasis in Africa. In the Americas the strategy is biannual large-scale treatment with ivermectin.

No vaccines in Africa

Even though the causes of the low death counts for COVID-19 in Africa are yet not clarified, it is obvious that the low death counts cannot have been achieved through  vaccination.  There is actually a correlation between low vaccination rates and low mortality in COVID-19. This needs to be closer investigated.