The BBC reported on July 7th that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa is seeing coronavirus cases rapidly increasing and deaths rising, As we have followed the situation in Africa, we have watched the WHO relentlessly overinflate the problem on the continent, including making wild speculations of the number of anticipated cases. It is religiously advocating the lockdown strategy with little regard to the profound resulting damage and the disconnect when numbers don’t match the speculation.
The BBC article does give some balance to this, recognizing that the current numbers don’t tell us that much, and that increased testing is one reason for more cases. Also, the report states that the majority of cases are in Egypt and South Africa, with 60% of all new cases reported in late June and just 10 countries accounted for 80% of all the reported cases in Africa. In the rest of the continent, over 1 billion people, COVID19 is basically non-existent, but governments have still been told to lockdown.
Africa is often talked about as if it’s one country. Little time is given to explore the differences between the countries and why the figures vary considerably. How countries are measuring and identifying COVID19 cases is one obvious reason, but it seems that for the WHO, all the focus is on the increasing numbers of cases. There seems to be a need to continually magnify the issue in South Africa and say things are getting worse, when perhaps it is again the result of increased testing. Are the deaths being attributed to COVID19 really just that? Are people dying WITH COVID or OF COVID? It is hard to tell. It is a fair question to ask and important to know what the real cause of death may be. The BBC article does at least clarify that it is difficult to analyse the figures given the inconsistencies in testing. It doesn’t discuss the fact that many of the tests may be inaccurate, further confusing the numbers.
The fact still remains that for nearly all African countries, more people die every day of many more diseases than COVID19 but the WHO seems obsessed with giving worst-case scenarios and maintaining the fear. For example, Tuberculosis is the most infectious disease and kills more people in Africa than any other disease. According to the WHO:
- Tuberculosis (TB) is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS.
- In 2016, 2.5 million people fell ill with TB in the African region, accounting for a quarter of new TB cases worldwide.
- An estimated 417,000 people died from the disease in the African region (1.7 million globally) in 2016. Over 25% of TB deaths occur in the African Region.
South Africa has the largest number of COVID19 cases and mortalities, with 3,860 deaths as of July 11th. In 2018, 63,000 people died of TB of which it was estimated 42,000 were HIV positive. In the whole of Africa, there have been only 12,809 COVID19 based deaths as of July 11th, whereas, according to the WHO figures above, 417,000 died of TB in the African region in 2016, and yet the WHO didn’t insist everyone wear masks because of TB.
There is NO doubt that COVID19 is a serious concern, but when compared to many other serious diseases impacting the world, it is clear that COVID19 is being given extraordinary attention and funding despite there being no figures to justify it.