Driven by the delta variant, a new wave of COVID-19 is sweeping across the African continent where new cases, hospital admissions and deaths are increasing along with Alpha and Beta fuelling an aggressive third wave according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO experts warned on Thursday that the numbers have increased for six consecutive weeks, up by 25% last week, reaching 202,000 positive cases. Deaths also rose by 15% across 38 African countries, to nearly 3,000.
Young adults hit
The Delta variant, initially identified in India, is now dominant in South Africa, which accounted for more than half of Africa´s cases last week. Moreover, the variant was detected in 97% of the samples sequenced in Uganda and 79% of those sequenced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The variant also seems to be fueling illness among young adults. According to WHO experts. In Uganda for example, 66% of severe illness in people younger than 45, is attributed to Delta.
“The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before. The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level. More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO´s regional director for Africa.