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A boy wearing a mask walks past a mural warning people about the coronavirus, in Nairobi A boy wearing a mask walks past a mural warning people about the coronavirus, Nairobi, Kenya, April 18, 2020 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Can African Countries Continue to Fend Off the Worst of COVID-19?

Friday, May 15, 2020

A recent survey by Reuters found that across Africa, there is less than one intensive care bed per 100,000 people. The continent’s three most populous countries—Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt—only have 1,920 intensive care beds to service more than 400 million people between them. Just two countries, South Africa and Ghana, accounted for 46 percent of all tests carried out in Africa as of May 7. As recently as April 17, 10 countries in Africa did not possess any ventilators at all, according to the World Health Organization, and just 2,000 ventilators were spread across 41 countries home to hundreds of millions of people.

These statistics suggest that much of Africa risks being devastated by an uncontrolled outbreak of the coronavirus. While the continent has avoided a worst-case scenario so far, whether it can continue to will depend on the steps national governments and international organizations take in the weeks and months ahead. ...

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