The surge in the Delta coronavirus variant in Africa is set to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in the coming months absent a dramatic scaling up of preventative measures and COVID vaccine access.
While parts of the world have seemingly begun to turn the page on the pandemic, COVID’s third wave is the headline story across Africa. There has been a near tripling in the number of COVID cases and 30,000 fatalities on the continent since the end of April when the Delta variant emerged in Uganda.
Panic and fear are taking hold in many communities as the number of people losing family and friends rises exponentially.
A Third Wave as the Delta Variant Becomes Dominant
26 African countries have seen their confirmed COVID-19 case numbers jump by approximately 50 percent or more in June compared to May. 17 of these 26 countries have confirmed cases of the Delta COVID variant that drove India’s deadly surge.
The Delta variant, now confirmed in 22 African countries, has been found to spread 225 percent faster than the original virus. 5,600 people across Africa have died from COVID in the first week of July. This represents a 43 percent increase from the previous week. Actual rates are likely even higher given that many of the affected countries have positive test rates near or above 15 percent.