The American Wall Street Journal reported on its website that “the most contagious type of coronavirus, the delta virus, is spreading in Africa, where there are the fewest vaccines in the world and the weakest health care system.”
Record infections are leading to shortages of beds in intensive care units and oxygen, and countries across the continent are reimposing lockdowns. As a result, there is growing concern among epidemiologists and political leaders about the potential for a public health catastrophe as happened in India this spring.
The spread of the species, first identified in India and forcing governments around the world to tighten restrictions on social and economic activity, has shocked health experts in Africa, where a younger population thanks in part to the low number of COVID-19 deaths so far. It has been reported in other regions of the world. Some experts warn that previous infection with a different strain of coronavirus may not protect against Delta, so a section of the population thought to be immune is at risk again.
In South Africa, families are moving sick relatives across state borders in a bid to provide them with the few remaining beds in intensive care units. The Wall Street Journal reports that on one night in June, each of 30 COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit of Uganda’s largest hospital died of running out of oxygen supplies. In the Zambian capital, Lusaka, doctors say the morgue has run out of space.
– We are in the grip of a devastating wave (epidemic), which by all indications seems worse than the one that preceded it – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday in a televised speech, announcing the imposition of new epidemic restrictions in his country.
The third wave of infections in Africa comes at a dangerous moment for the continent: just 1.1%. Out of the 1.3 billion people in Africa who have been fully vaccinated, medical resources are exhausted, doctors are physically and mentally exhausted, in some cases not even getting paid, and hospitals are not accepting patients due to lack of beds and medical oxygen – the Wall Street Journal notes.