Africa could see 300,000 coronavirus deaths this year alone under the best case scenario — and 3.3 million deaths under the worst, according to a Friday report.
If “intense social distancing” is in place, the continent could see more than 122 million infections, and with no interventions against the contagion, up to 1.2 billion people could contract the deadly bug, according to the report, which cites modeling from Imperial College London.
In any of those cases, Africa’s fragile, underfunded health systems will bear a heavy burden, the report said.
The best-case scenario will require $44 billion for testing, personal protective equipment and treatment, the report said, citing estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
At worst, the continent’s health systems could be set back by $446 billion.
As of Friday, Africa had more than 18,000 confirmed virus cases, but experts say the continent is weeks behind Europe — whose rate of increase looked very similar at this stage.
Africa is “particularly susceptible” to the virus because of its poverty, crowded cities and rampant health concerns, according to the UN report.
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