As many as 190,000 people across Africa could die in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic if crucial containment measures fail, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns.
The new research also predicts a prolonged outbreak over a few years.
“It likely will smoulder in transmission hot spots,” says WHO Africa head Matshidiso Moeti.
This patchier and slower pattern of transmission sets Africa apart from other regions, WHO experts say.
Other factors taken into account are the region’s younger populations who have “benefitted from the control of communicable diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis”, as well as lower mortality rates.
The WHO’s warning comes as Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, plus others including South Africa and Ivory Coast, have begun relaxing some of their lockdown measures.