Africa has the lowest coronavirus death toll and number of infections in the world while the United States has the highest.
With more than 1.3 billion people, Africa has recorded 37,000 fatalities and over 1.5 million cases, while the United States, with less than 350 million people, has reported more than 210,000 COVID-19 deaths and 7.5 million infections.
But how did Africa do it?
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The director of the Africa CDC John Nkengasong highlighted some of the right steps Africa took early in the pandemic to beat the deadly disease.
Speaking with ABC News’ Linsey Davis on Monday evening, Nkengasong said Africa has successfully responded to the novel coronavirus with fewer fatalities and infections, at least for now, because of its early “cooperation, collaboration and coordination efforts” against the deadly virus that has killed more than a million people worldwide and infected over 35 million people globally.
Nkengasong, who is also the World Health Organization (WHO) envoy to Africa, and the winner of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award, said early preparation and the recognition that COVID-19 was a common threat to the entire continent were “extremely valuable.”
The Africa CDC boss said leadership at “many levels” could also explain Africa’s fewer deaths and infections, starting from the African Union.
The AU, he said, played a major role and brought African heads of state together to “work with the Africa CDC to coordinate” the continental strategy against COVID-19.
Africa has recorded more than 1.5 million infections and close to 37,000 deaths and more than 1.,2 million people who contracted the virus have so far recovered, according to the latest data by the Africa CDC released on Monday evening. For a continent with 1.3 billion people and 55 countries, Africa has the best coronavirus response in the world.
Nkengasong said many African countries took “bold measures” from the beginning of the pandemic with “very aggressive lockdowns” to combat the virus.
The Africa CDC director added that there was also the “uniformity in messaging” across the continent.
“The message was clear. We never wavered with the messaging. We started wearing mask before the WHO made it mandatory,” he said.
He said there was never a debate over whether Africans should wear masks or not to beat the virus. There was also, he added, the recognition that African nations needed to ramp up shortages of test kits.
In addition, Nkengasong said, there was also “the engagement of the community” to win the fight against the virus.