When COVID-19 first emerged last year, health officials warned the pandemic would likely sweep across Africa, killing millions. They were very wrong.
There is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said.
Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated against COVID-19, and yet the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” for nearly the entire pandemic in its weekly reports.
The impact of COVID-19 has also been relatively muted in poor countries like Afghanistan and Yemen, where experts predicted outbreaks would prove catastrophic.