WHO: “Corona infections in Africa are rising sharply, yet fewer deaths and seriously ill”

Corona infections in Africa have increased by 83 percent in the past week compared to the previous week. This was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday. Still, the WHO’s African branch is “cautiously optimistic” because fewer people end up in the hospital or die compared to previous waves.

Last week, 196,000 new infections were counted in Africa. Compared to the 107,000 corona cases of the week before, this is an increase of 83 percent. A total of 8.9 million people in Africa became infected during the corona pandemic.

Despite the sharp rise in the number of infections – certainly, in South Africa, where the new omikron variant was first identified at the end of November – there have been fewer deaths and less seriously ill than during previous waves, says WHO regional director Matshidiso Moeti. The death rate remains relatively low, declining by nineteen percent last week from the previous week.

In South Africa, most adults who end up in hospital because of a corona infection are unvaccinated, says Flavia Senkubuge, a professor of public health at the University of Pretoria. According to Senkubuge, the average hospitalization time is now four to five days, compared to an average of nine days during the third wave.

It is not yet fully clear why people become less ill from an infection. According to the professor, it could be due to immunity from a previous, undiagnosed infection or it could be a less aggressive form of the virus.

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