Coronavirus in Africa
The world is slowly going back to some form of normality and Africa has not been left behind. In Kenya for example, people have started going back to work and businesses are opening their doors. The question is have we turned a corner with Covid 19? or is this a period of calm before a storm? and are we oblivious to this reality?
Covid 19 stats in Africa as at June 16 2020
- Confirmed cases = 251,408
- Number of deaths = 6,763
- Recoveries = 114,212
- Active cases = 130,433
According to WHO, there has been a 31% increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid 19 cases in the African Region in past week. Cases in Mauritania, Ethiopia, CAR, South Sudan & Zimbabwe grew the fastest.
While the cases are gathering pace, many countries in Africa have embarked on easing lockdown and opening economies. One may argue that in almost three months since the first case was reported in the continent, the virus spread has been slow and the number is still very low. This might be the main reason why the initial fear and panic is gone and people are going back to some normalcy. Furthermore, WHO recently made a U-turn on strict social distancing measures and masks usage in public. This is after scientists confirmed that Covid 19’s spread from asymptomatic case is rare. This goes to prove that use of masks and social distancing is only useful in situations one is exposed to active symptomatic patients.
The world feared the worst for Africa when cases started being reported in the continent especially because of the deplorable state of the health systems. Health sectors in Africa suffer mainly from underfunding, mismanagement and corruption. Also African leaders have never sought to improve the health care simply because they can easily fly to Europe and America for medical reasons. Some years back, a Governor of certain County in Kenya flew abroad to treat a nose blead. The combination of Covid 19 hitting hard and the poor health systems would be a recipe for a disaster many of us thought. Fortunately this has not happened and hospitals are neither congested nor under serious pressure. We will find out how this will look like in the long run but as at now, there is no alarm.
With high unemployment, businesses struggling and livelihoods disturbed, Governments in Africa have found themselves between two walls, on one side is a diseases that needs controlling and on the other side is economic disaster in full swing. The call for easing lockdowns is getting louder in recent weeks. In response to this and new information that the virus may stay with us for sometimes and the process of vaccine development taking quite long, countries must find ways to instruct citizens to use measures to curb the spread of the virus but also open up for business. One thing that will remain with us for quite sometime other than the virus will be social distancing and hand washing or general hygiene. Things will never be the same again.
Stay safe and alert.