Bill Gates, a co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), says the world still does not have enough data to understand why COVID-19 numbers have not been as high as predicted in Africa.
The American philanthropist who invests heavily in healthcare in Africa said he is, however, happy to have been wrong about COVID-19 rates in Africa.
“One thing I’m happy to have been wrong about—at least, I hope I was wrong—is my fear that COVID-19 would run rampant in low-income countries,” he wrote in his end of the year note.
“So far, this hasn’t been true. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, case rates and death rates remain much lower than in the U.S. or Europe and on par with New Zealand, which has received so much attention for its handling of the virus.
“The hardest-hit country on the continent is South Africa—but even there, the case rate is 40 percent lower than in the U.S., and the death rate is nearly 50 percent lower.”
According to Gates, “more than 1.6 million people have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 75 million cases and tens of trillions of dollars in economic damages”.
The US has been the hardest-hit country in the world — while South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised nation, has been the most affected in Africa.