COVID-19 Cases Drop Dramatically
COVID-19 cases reported in Africa dropped by 46% over a one-week stretch in early August, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). By late August, global COVID-19 cases had dropped by 24% over a one-week period.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus celebrated the news during an August 22 speech in Togo.
“As part of our commitment to enhanced health security in the region, just last month we announced the construction of a new Africa logistics hub in Kenya to be better prepared for future epidemics and pandemics,” Tedros said. “It is very pleasing to see that reported cases and deaths in the region are now at their lowest levels since the pandemic began.”
The logistics hub in Kenya is one of three the WHO launched in Africa. The others are in Senegal and Nigeria. The hubs are staffed with emergency medical personnel and have enough equipment to respond to more than 100 health emergencies per year.
“An expanded and more versatile emergencies hub in Kenya will allow WHO to effectively and swiftly support Kenya and all Eastern and Southern Africa countries by maintaining stockpiles of medical and logistical supplies,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the facility’s opening ceremony..
In mid-August, Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, Egypt’s minister of health and population, said his country’s hospital occupancy rate was at the lowest point since the pandemic began.
“We are in a safe stage, and we have had a decrease in the last two weeks in the number of community cases by up to 50% in infections, and 26% in deaths,” Abdel-Ghaffar said in a report by Egypt Independent newspaper.
Although COVID-19 cases were low, 41 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states reported fatality rates higher than the global average of 1.1% in mid-August, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the time, Somalia and Sudan reported COVID-19 fatality rates higher than 5%. Sudan has reported the world’s second-highest case fatality rate — 7.5% — since the pandemic began.
Algeria, Burundi, Kenya, Mauritius and Tunisia experienced sixth waves of COVID-19 in August, while 26 African countries experienced fifth waves.
In late August, South Africa Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla confirmed that there was no rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the country lifted restrictions in June.
“This is an indication that we acted in the public’s interest once we were confident that the level of risk of another flare-up was very low,” Phaahla said at a media briefing.
Phaahla added that COVID-19 tests, cases, hospitalizations and deaths were closely monitored for any indications of concern. He said two omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, still were predominant in South Africa, although the numbers were low.
“They have presented with a milder picture in South Africa, likely the result of high levels of immunity from previous infection … which [can] offer protection against severe illness,” Phaahla said.