WHO Says Africa Experiencing Third Wave of COVID-19 Infections

“Africa is facing a fast-surging third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, with cases spreading more rapidly and projected to soon overtake the peak of the second wave the continent witnessed at the start of 2021,” according to the World Health Organization’s regional office in Africa.

WHO said in a statement the pandemic is resurging in 12 African countries. Meanwhile, the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, first identified in India, has been detected in 14 African countries.

“The third wave is picking up speed, spreading faster, hitting harder. With rapidly rising case numbers and increasing reports of serious illness, the latest surge threatens to be Africa’s worst yet,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa said.

The third wave comes as Africa is experiencing a vaccine shortage. WHO says just slightly more than 1% of Africans have been fully vaccinated. While approximately 2.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered globally, WHO says just under 1.5% of those shots have been administered on the African continent.

The Associated Press reports that its analysis of recent COVID-19 deaths reveals that nearly all the deaths occurred in people who were unvaccinated. The news agency said the results of its assessment are “a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been.” In addition, AP said the deaths per day “could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.”

Workers and residents in several neighborhoods in Sydney, Australia, have been told to stay home as officials attempt to bring a COVID-19 outbreak under control. Authorities say they believe they outbreak started with a limousine driver who transported an international flight crew to a quarantine hotel in Sydney.

The directors of the WHO, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization say they met earlier this month to determine how they can collectively “tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressing global challenges at the intersection of public health, intellectual property and trade.”

The three organizations said in a statement that their initiatives will include:

• a series of “capacity-building workshops to enhance the flow of updated information on current developments in the pandemic and responses to achieve equitable access to COVID-19 health technologies.”

• the creation of a “joint platform for tripartite technical assistance to countries relating to their needs for COVID-19 medical technologies, providing a one-stop shop that will make available the full range of expertise on access, IP and trade matters provided by our organizations, and other partners, in a coordinated and systematic manner.”

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Friday that global count of COVID-19 infections has reached more than 180 million. The three countries with the most cases are the U.S. with 33.6 million cases, India with more than 30 million infections and Brazil with 18.2 million.

Source: Voice of America