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.
Bill Gates had warned early 2020 that Africa could be the worse hit by COVID-19, stating at a conference that the virus would overwhelm health systems in the world’s poorest continent. But this has not been the case and the world does not understand why.
“We don’t have enough data yet to understand why the numbers aren’t as high as I worried they would get. It helped that some countries locked down early. In Africa, another reason may be that the population is young compared with the rest of the world’s, and young people are less susceptible to the virus.
“Why does it rank so low in Africa? It’s not just the relatively low incidence of COVID-19 there. It’s also because shifting health workers to focus on the coronavirus disrupted efforts to detect and treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases. As a result, COVID-19 stayed low on the list of health threats, but other problems came roaring back,” he said.