The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Africa reached 99,886 as of Thursday evening, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
South Africa has reported the highest COVID-19-inflicted deaths in Africa, at 48,478, according to the Africa CDC.
The number of people dying from COVID-19 appears to be on the way up according to data from the World Health Organization.
“Over 22,300 deaths were reported in Africa in the last 28 days, compared with nearly 16,000 deaths in the previous 28 days,” said the WHO Africa office based in the Republic of the Congo capital Brazzaville.
“This comes as Africa battles new, more contagious variants and gears up for its largest-ever vaccination drive,” the UN agency said in a statement after a virtual press conference.
The continent is expected to reach 100,000 deaths in the coming days,” the WHO added.
“The increasing deaths from COVID-19 we are seeing are tragic, but are also disturbing warning signs that health workers and health systems in Africa are dangerously overstretched,” WHO’s Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said in the statement. “The second wave, which appears to have peaked in January, has been far more lethal than the first.”
Despite fears it would be hit hard, Africa saw fewer cases than much of the rest of the world during the earlier phase of the pandemic. But a more contagious virus variant is more widespread and driving this second phase.
The more transmissible variants of the virus first identified in South Africa and Britain have been detected in eight and six African countries respectively, but a lack of genome sequencing could mean it is spreading elsewhere undetected.
That’s why Moeti is urging Africans to ‘go out and get vaccinated when a vaccine becomes available.”
Skepticism about vaccines remains high in Africa but many countries on the continent finally kicked off vaccination programs during the past week.
Story compiled with assistance from wire reports