CONGO.Brazzaville: The World Health Organization (WHO), said last weekend that COVID-19 deaths in Africa rose by 40 percent for the past month, when they reached almost 23,000, compared to 16,000 in the month prior.
The Africa regional head at WHO, Dr Matshidiso Moeti,said the number of recorded deaths since the first case was reported in February last year will reach 100,000 by the end of this month.
“The increasing deaths from COVID-19 we are seeing are tragic, but are also disturbing warning signs that health workers and health systems in Africa are dangerously overstretched. This grim milestone must refocus everyone on stamping out the virus,” said Dr Moeti
The second wave of the pandemic has taken the continent by storm, hitting hard countries which were spared by the devastation caused by the first wave.
See also: Southern Africa Tops In COVID-19 Upsurge
South Africa still leads in the number of fatalities in Africa with over with 49,000 deaths recorded so far.
Early in February South Africa halted the use of the Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine, putting the whole task of vaccinating the continent in dilemma.
But, Dr. Moeti said, “vaccines are just a tool. We must put investments and support to our health workers and still maintain the basics like wearing masks and observing social distancing”
The Strategic Advisory Group on immunization (SAGE) still advised the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Africa despite the jab showing a variation in responding to the coronavirus in some countries.
Why the escalation?
WHO laments that of the 21 countries in Africa which were hardest hit, 66 percent reported lack of adequate critical health care. 24 percent of them had inadequate health workers and 15 countries had insufficient supply of oxygen.
The second variant ,commonly called the South African variant had been detected in 8 countries in Africa.
The first case of the disease was recorded on February 14,2020.