The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit Africa much harder than the first wave. A new analysis has shown.
According to the study published in The Lancet journal, daily new infections across the continent were approximately 30% higher during the second wave. Its authors say it is the first comprehensive continent-wide analysis of the pandemic in Africa.
The data showed that while an average of 18,273 daily new cases was being reported across the continent during the first peek of the epidemic in mid-July, this number rose to an average of 23,790 by the end of December when 36 of the African Union’s 55 states had experienced or were experiencing a second wave.
Dr John Nkengasong, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the authors of the study, said the more aggressive second wave was likely caused by several factors, including a lower adherence to health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, as well as the emergence of the new, more infectious variants.
“These insights also reveal a need to improve testing capacity and reinvigorate public health campaigns, to re-emphasize the importance of abiding by measures that aim to strike a fine balance between controlling the spread of Covid-19 and sustaining economies and people’s livelihoods,” he added in a statement.
However, Nkengasong told CNN public health measures alone would not be enough to stop further waves of the pandemic in Africa. “Without urgent scale-up of the vaccines, we will see the third wave, which has already started in some African countries,” he said.
“Vaccines protectionism will make the situation worse, and … will be detrimental to the global efforts to win the battle against Covid 19,” he added.