Worst Case Scenario: 3.3M Coronavirus Deaths Predicted In Africa, U.N. Reports

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Chloroquine coronavirus deaths
In a worst-case scenario, an estimated 3.3M coronavirus deaths are predicted in Africa based on modeling used within a U.N. report. Women sell face masks and gloves, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, to passengers at a public minibus station in Lagos, Nigeria Friday, March 27, 2020. Image: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

Africa is in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis but is now beginning to see a surge in cases as around 32,000 people are infected.

A new report from the U.N. suggests that Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus in 2020 in a best-case scenario, based on modeling from the Imperial College London, according to The Washington Post.

That best-case scenario would involve widespread interventions against the spread of the virus including “intense social distancing” and could see more than 122 million Africans contracting COVID-19.

If the modeling is accurate, a worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus could lead to 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections, according to the report by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa

The COVID-19 virus is now present in 52 out of 54 African countries, with almost 32,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,425 deaths reported thus far.

These are relatively modest numbers compared with other regions as the global coronavirus death toll stands at 207,733 with 3.02 million infections.

At the end of March, the World Health Organization warned that African countries should be working on containment while preparing for a possible, broader expansion of the virus, Reuters reported.

Countries including South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tunisia have imposed lockdowns to try and prevent the spread.

Experts are concerned that an accelerated outbreak of the virus in Africa could be devastating due to fragile health systems and insufficient resources in some countries.

Even the best-case scenario predictions from the Imperial College London model would likely overwhelm African healthcare systems.

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The U.N. report also predicted the economics of dealing with the outbreak in Africa including the cost of testing, personal protective equipment, and treatment.

In the best-case scenario, an estimated $44 billion would be needed to overcome the health crisis, while the worst-case scenario would cost $446 billion, according to Time.