Numbers at a glance:
- 47 countries affected
- 5.8 million cumulative cases
- Over 142,000 deaths
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has observed a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases over the last two months across the region, however this decline has taken place more slowly than in previous waves due to the persistent effects of Covid variants.
According to the Lancet in May 2021, Covid-19 was the twelfth leading cause of death worldwide, the sixth leading cause of death in high-income countries, and the 41st leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the reasons why the numbers of cases and deaths were lower in sub-Saharan Africa were unclear. One possibility is that there are inadequate levels of testing, which could translate to unreported Covid-19 deaths. Another possibility is that the continent acted quickly. Among fears that the new virus could quickly overwhelm generally fragile health systems, governments took drastic measures to slow the virus. According to experts, the age of the population in most African countries is also likely to have played a role in suppressing the spread of Covid-19. Globally, most of those who have died have been aged over 80, while Africa is home to the world's youngest population with an average age of 19 years.