Africa, which is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus, has passed the threshold of 100,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. But the death toll on the poor continent of 1.2 billion people is probably much higher, as the South African example illustrates.
African countries have recorded a total of 100,000 fatalities, for 3,793,660 reported cases, according to an AFP count. The region, relatively unscathed, is the last, apart from Oceania, to reach this threshold, which was crossed by Europe in April. But these figures are based solely on the daily reports from the health authorities in each country and reflect only a fraction of the actual total number of contaminations.
“Many countries have essentially PCR tests, in the capitals. And the farther away from urban centers, the fewer tests there are,” explains epidemiologist Emmanuel Baron, from the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) present in Africa.
And this disease can go “unnoticed,” he says, with asymptomatic cases or symptoms that are easily confused with others.
South Africa, the country most affected by covid-19 on the African continent, may have largely underestimated the number of cases and deaths.
According to a statistical study by the insurer Discovery, about 120,000 deaths is attributable to Covid-19, which is far, very far from the nearly 49,000 deaths officially declared.
Another discovery, confirmed by a study on antibodies carried out by the National Blood Center reveals that half of the South African population has already been contaminated with Covid-19.
South Africa launched its vaccination campaign this week and
hopes to vaccinate 67% of its population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.