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Experts tackle the mystery of Africa’s low death rate

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  • Experts tackle the mystery of Africa’s low death rate

    Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/worl...ow-death-rate/
    Experts tackle the mystery of Africa’s low death rate
    Geoffrey YorkAfrica Bureau Chief
    Johannesburg
    Published July 17, 2020
    Updated 23 hours ago


    Experts tackle the mystery of Africa’s low death rate
    Geoffrey YorkAfrica Bureau Chief
    Johannesburg
    Published July 17, 2020
    Updated 23 hours ago
    The Canadian Press

    As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across South Africa at a frightening rate, authorities have been preparing an array of responses: field hospitals, oxygen supplies, triage centres and expanded morgues and cemeteries.

    But while many hospitals are crowded with patients, and while the country suffers the world’s fourth-highest number of new daily cases, the mortuaries and grave sites appear to be much slower to fill. It’s one of the enduring mysteries here: why do South Africa, and most other African countries, seem to have a relatively low death rate from the virus? And can this low rate be sustained?

    In the early stages of the pandemic, many experts were worried that Africa’s mortality rate would be catastrophically high. They fretted about fragile health systems, impoverished governments and severe shortages of health workers and crucial equipment such as ventilators.

    Instead, the African continent today has a case fatality rate of just 2.2 per cent – far less than the global rate of 4.4 per cent. This compares to a case fatality rate of 8 per cent in Canada and 15 per cent in Britain.

    The hardest-hit country on the continent, South Africa, has a case fatality rate of just 1.4 per cent – and the rate has been steadily declining for weeks.

    Early models had projected that South Africa would have 50,000 deaths from the virus by the end of this year. But by Friday, it had recorded just 4,804 deaths – even though it has the world’s sixth-largest number of confirmed infections.

    South Africa now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than Britain or Italy. Yet, it has barely one-tenth as many deaths as Britain, and only one-seventh as many deaths as Italy...

  • #2
    Could the much lower average age of the African population be a factor?

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    • #3
      That makes sense. The median age in Africa is about half of the median age in the US. There's some debate about speculated underreporting in SA, but that could be true and yet the age difference could still be a big factor.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...hs-experts-say
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