The United Nations has projected in a report that about 300,000 Africans would die from the novel coronavirus, as the disease spreads rapidly and the continent scrambles to get medical supplies.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control said on Saturday there were already more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on the continent from more than 20,000 infections in 52 of 54 countries recognized by the United Nations. The African Union recognizes 55 countries in Africa, including Western Sahara.
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Among the dead is the prominent chief of staff of the Nigerian President, Abba Kyari, who passed away in the commercial city of Lagos on Friday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that in the past one week alone, the number of coronavirus infections across Africa has risen by 51 percent in the past one week alone, while the number of reported deaths has increased by at least 60 percent in the same period.
In fact, just over two months since COVID-19 was first detected in Africa, the disease has now spread to nearly every country, resulting in over 20,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 deaths across the continent.
As several countries across Africa struggle to get basic medical supplies, the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) estimates that at least 300,000 Africans will die from the virus and 29 million could be pushed into extreme poverty.
Amy Niang, an international relations lecturer at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, told the Times that “the brutal withdrawal of the U.S. of its contribution to the W.H.O., and the management of the crisis more globally, is a stark reminder that Africa’s faith in multilateralism has become untenable”
The New York Times reported, citing WHO, that there were less than 2,000 working ventilators in public hospitals across 41 African countries, and 10 countries have none.
Axios noted, citing the UN, that “even if hospitals can acquire new ventilators, they still have to worry about staffing, reliable electricity and sufficient oxygen supply. There is widespread struggle to ensure people have access to necessities such as clean, running water and soap. Nearly 97% of homes in Liberia were without access to clean water and soap in 2017.”.
“Major disparities exist among African nations. South Africa has more ventilators than others and a stronger economy, while Burkina Faso has 11 ventilators for its 20 million people, the Times notes,” according to Axios.
The only little chance the world has to prevent bloodbath in Africa is billions of dollars from the international community, health experts and policymakers say.