Understanding varying COVID-19 mortality rates reported in Africa compared to Europe, Americas and Asia
Okonji, Emeka Francis
Okonji, Osaretin Christabel
Mukumbang, Ferdinand C
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The SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has impacted every nation on the globe, albeit disproportionately. African countries have seen lower infection and mortality rates than most countries in the Americas Europe and Asia. In this commentary, we explore some of the factors purported to be responsible for the low COVID-19 infection and case fatality rates in Africa: low testing rate, poor documentation of cause of death, younger age population, good vitamin D status as a result of exposure to sunlight, cross-immunity from other viruses including coronaviruses, and lessons learnt from other infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola. With the advent of a new variant of COVID-19 and inadequate roll-out of vaccines, an innovative and efficient response is needed to ramp up testing, contact tracing and accurate reporting of infection rates and cause of death in order to mitigate the spread of the infection.