Covid in Africa: did we get it wrong?

Image source: Linky Machaaba, Tsakani Mathonsi & Rhulani Nkuni who are sisters from Diepsloot South Clinic in Johannesburg

Health experts and the media have been warning about a Covid-19 catastrophe heading to Africa for months.

Poverty, overcrowding and poor public health were all expected to make the spread much worse.

Why then are Covid-19 cases dropping sharply in South Africa and staying low in the rest of Africa?

Experts are now saying that poverty may actually prevent Covid-19.

The BBC says that South Africa has performed impressively well, as has the rest of Africa.

“Most African countries don’t have a peak. I don’t understand why. I’m completely at sea,” admitted Prof Salim Karim, a leading voice on South Africa’s pandemic response.

It is not just that Africans are much younger.

Africa’s tough lockdowns and wearing masks has helped.

But now scientists believe that the poor conditions that led them to fear the worst might actually have saved lives in Africa.

They think that Africans might have been widely infected by other coronaviruses – such as colds and flu – and built up immunity towards Covid-19.

At the moment though they are still guessing.

In the meantime, the BBC says, the mystery of Africa’s relatively mild pandemic lives on.