Coronavirus (1477) Morgue Data Reveal Africa’s High COVID-19 Death Toll

17 December, 2022

Dear HIFA and HIFA-Zambia colleagues,

Extracts below. Full text here:


A new study led by Christopher Gill and Lawrence Mwananyanda found that nearly 90 percent of deceased individuals at a Zambian morgue were infected with COVID-19, but only 10 percent tested positive while alive.

Since the start of the pandemic, Africa has reported more than 12 million COVID-19 cases and 255,000 deaths...

Africa’s low death count has baffled health experts and government officials...

A new study led by School of Public Health researchers suggests that the reported COVID-19 death toll in Africa is substantially higher than official records indicate.

Available as a preprint on medRxiv ahead of peer-reviewed publication, the study found that nearly 90 percent of deceased individuals at a crowded morgue in Lusaka, Zambia were infected with COVID-19 during peak transmission periods between July 2020-June 2021 — and only 10 percent of these individuals tested positive for COVID while alive...

Gill says “... Rather than an ‘African paradox,’ the far simpler explanation is that COVID-19 has affected African countries just as the virus has everywhere else, but has gone undocumented.”


COMMENT (NPW): The authors are interviewed by the BBC here in a podcast here - It certainly seems that the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Africa is far higher than the 255,000 previously reported. But the true number remains unknown.

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Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator

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