Africa fatality rate higher than global: CDC

NAIROBI, KENYA (AP) – The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the COVID-19 case fatality rate on the continent “is becoming very troubling” as it creeps ever higher than the global one.

John Nkengasong told reporters that the fatality rate on the 54-nation continent is now 2.6 per cent while the global one is 2.2 per cent. Twenty African countries including South Africa, Sudan and Congo have rates higher than the global average as a resurgence of cases in parts of the continent has a far deadlier toll than the initial wave of infections last year.

Africa’s confirmed deaths in the pandemic are approaching 100,000, with more than 3.6 million cases overall.

Nkengasong said “it would be a tragedy if we begin to normalise these deaths”.

As COVID-19 vaccines finally begin to arrive on the continent, he said 16 countries have put in requests for a total of 114 million doses of the 670 million doses the African Union has secured from various sources.

Nkengasong did not name the countries but said “we hope in the next two to three weeks they should be having their vaccines.”

A sealed coffin containing the remains of a COVID-19 victim is stored in a refrigerated container in Johannesburg. PHOTO: AP