Africa has so far contradicted the most pessimistic predictions about the number of deaths caused by the
Covid-19 on its territory. Among these is prominently that of the World Health Organization (WHO) which
190.000 deaths are predicted.
After multiple alarmist announcements, specialists and media people from European countries wonder about
the apparent resistance of the continent, which is however deprived of almost everything, particularly with regard to
Statistics show an increasing trend in contagion in recent weeks. The milestone of 120.000 cases
confirmed is almost reached by the end of the day on Tuesday 26 May. But the number of registered deaths proves that
the announced massacre is still far from being a reality, at least not for the moment.
In fact, the continent recorded only 3.550 deaths linked to the coronavirus, that is a fatality rate of 2,95%, against a
world average of 6,20%. Africa, which weighs 16,67% of the world's population, accounts for only 2,13% of cases of
Covid-19 detected worldwide and especially less than 1% of coronavirus-related deaths worldwide.
By way of comparison, when Italy had reached 3 confirmed cases on April 119.827, it had 14.681 deaths. For the
France, with 120.804 cases on April 23, the number of deaths was 13.547. As for Spain, it counted 117.710 cases
detected on April 3, including 11.000 deaths.
As we can see, for a similar number of patients, the African continent has about 4 times less deaths than
the average of these three countries.
Overall, the continent displays an astonishing resilience to the Covid-19. Even South Africa, the country there
most affected by the pandemic, with 23.615 confirmed cases, accounts for only 481 deaths, representing a fatality rate of 2,04%. AT
Globally, there are 5,62 million confirmed cases for 348.545 deaths, representing a fatality rate of 6,2%.
For the moment, not having the necessary hindsight, no rigorous study has been undertaken to explain this
resistance. All the concerns were concentrated on the problems of the continent to face the pandemic. We
feared in particular its abysmal deficit in health infrastructure, its lack of drinking water necessary for washing
regular hands, the absence of masks to protect themselves… but also because of social structures (extended families
living under the same roof) who are unsuitable for social distancing. Several hypotheses are now advanced.
Healthy carriers and the youth of the population
Observers speak of a high number of healthy carriers of coronavirus on the continent, which could be explained
especially by the youth of its population.
In fact, the average African age is 19 years, which is twice less than that of the United States (38 years) and very
lower than that of an aging continent such as Europe (43 years).
The most exposed patients with Covid-19 are the elderly. This is probably one of the keys
explaining the low lethality of the coronavirus in Africa, as well as the low number of confirmed cases, knowing that the
more often the tests are only carried out with the contact persons of an already identified patient.
Chloroquine, despite controversy
Another advanced explanation is the use of chloroquine and / or the antimalarial drugs which are considered,
despite the controversy, as the only possibly valid treatment on the continent.
The chloroquine protocol is considered to have contributed significantly to lowering the case fatality rate.
27/05/2020 Why does Covid-19 cause fewer deaths in Africa? | Le360 Africa
Covid-19 in some African countries. This is particularly the case in Algeria, which priced at the head of deaths linked to
coronavirus in Africa, before adopting the treatment popularized by the controversial French doctor, Didier Raoult. The
Algiers health authorities have insisted on reducing lethality and increasing healings since the adoption of the
chloroquine. Ditto for the Senegalese health authorities.
Morocco, Senegal and Algeria are among the countries that have officially adopted the protocol. They advertise
good results obtained with this treatment, including a decrease in deaths as the contaminations increased.
Consequently, some do not hesitate to take the plunge and want to explain the few cases of contamination and the
resistance of Africans, especially those south of the Sahara, through the chronic use of antimalarial treatments (or
against other diseases) which would have ended up "immunizing" the population.
Following the supposed success of chloroquine, derivative drugs, including Nivaquine, ended up disappearing
shelves of pharmacies on the continent, because of the high demand from populations.
If it is still too early to decide on the effectiveness of chloroquine as a preventive and / or curative treatment for
Covid-19, its possible role in the low lethality of the coronavirus in Africa does not seem to be able to be ruled out by
back of the hand.
Some have gone so far as to explain the low lethality in Africans by the effect of melanin, arguing that perhaps people of “black race” would be more resistant to Covid-19. They push their hypothesis by emphasizing that
North Africa - Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt - alone accounts for almost half of the 3.550 deaths
of the continent, with 1.635 dead, or more than 460%. While the 49 other countries only count around 1.915.
This argument related to melanin is refuted by the fact that in the United States, among the most affected populations, are
African Americans. Although these are also known to be one of the most at risk populations in America, to
causes of a number of common comorbidity factors such as obesity, diabetes and other illnesses
which make the Covid-19 generally fatal.
The climate and the sun as sources of protection
Others prefer to speak of protection offered by the hot and dry climate of the continent, especially in Africa
sub-Saharan. They argue, without concrete evidence at the moment, that the Sars-Cov-2 virus, like other viruses of the
flu, would be fragile and would not support the solar rays. Indeed, the continent is generally spared by
many seasonal viruses. This factor is therefore advanced to justify the low spread of Covid-19 and its rate of
lower lethality in Africa.
Only, the new coronavirus seems to be different from other viruses and experts are not unanimous on the impact
heat on its proliferation.
A continent already prepared by multiple epidemics
In addition, some believe that Africa's resilience is explained by the fact that the continent is continuously in
fight against epidemics: malaria, malaria, Ebola, HIV… Their management has given some experience to
numerous countries of the continent, preparing them for the fight against Covid-19.
27/05/2020 Why does Covid-19 cause fewer deaths in Africa? | Le360 Africa
Experts also argue that the late onset of the first cases of Covid-19 allowed the continent to
better prepare. As such, it should be noted that when the pandemic broke out, the continent only had
two laboratories able to carry out coronavirus screening. But when the first cases appeared, all
almost all countries have equipped themselves with test centers, thanks to the help of WHO.
Furthermore, and unlike the European Union and the United States, African countries very quickly took action
to slow the pandemic: containment of the population, curfew, ban on assembly, ban on
collective prayers, closing of borders, etc. These are all factors which have contributed to limiting contagions, in
States aware that their health systems could not cope with the ravages of the pandemic.
Finally, it cannot be overlooked, the low number of deaths is also explained by an approximate count. The
statistics in many African countries are not reliable.
Due to the difficulty in accessing tests for the general public, the true number of infections is probably good
higher than that published. This also applies to developed countries, but to a lesser extent. It follows
that the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Africa is biased. However, we are far from the announced hecatomb.
In short, the African continent has done more than resist the coronavirus, so far. But, to have a
scientific explanation, it will take months or even years before we can give a clear answer on
the factors behind this resilience.
In the meantime, the explanations that are not denied anywhere are those that are based on prevention: washing of
hands, wearing a mask, using hydroalcoholic gel, social distancing, etc. And Africa, because of the weakness
of its health infrastructure, must focus on this prevention: "prevention is better than cure".
This article appeared first on: http://afrique.le360.ma/maroc-cote-divoire-autres-pays/societe/2020/05/26/30668-pourquoi-le-covid-19-fait-il- least-of-dead-in-africa-30668