This Lancet Global Health paper concludes: 'The African region is estimated to have had a similar number of COVID-19 infections to that of the rest of the world, but with fewer deaths.'
The paper also notes: 'Misinformation related to the COVID-19 response activities, together with the negative socioeconomic implications of mitigation measures, has negatively affected the applicability of these interventions across countries. Among these, delivery of essential health services were especially impacted, with widespread disruptions to service continuity.'
COVID-19 in the 47 countries of the WHO African region: a modelling analysis of past trends and future patterns
Joseph Waogodo Cabore et al. Lancet Global Health 2022
Published:June 01, 2022 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(22)00233-9
Background: COVID-19 has affected the African region in many ways. We aimed to generate robust information on the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in this region since the beginning of the pandemic and throughout 2022.
Methods: For each of the 47 countries of the WHO African region, we consolidated COVID-19 data from reported infections and deaths (from WHO statistics); published literature on socioecological, biophysical, and public health interventions; and immunity status and variants of concern, to build a dynamic and comprehensive picture of COVID-19 burden...
Findings: Between Jan 1, 2020, and Dec 31, 2021, our model estimates the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the African region to be 505·6 million (95% CI 476·0–536·2), inferring that only 1·4% (one in 71) of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the region were reported. Deaths are estimated at 439 500 (95% CI 344 374–574 785), with 35·3% (one in three) of these reported as COVID-19-related deaths...
Interpretation: The African region is estimated to have had a similar number of COVID-19 infections to that of the rest of the world, but with fewer deaths. Our model suggests that the current approach to SARS-CoV-2 testing is missing most infections. These results are consistent with findings from representative seroprevalence studies. There is, therefore, a need for surveillance of hospitalisations, comorbidities, and the emergence of new variants of concern, and scale-up of representative seroprevalence studies, as core response strategies.