Africa has accounted for a relatively small number of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Richard Wamai, a Northeastern associate professor of cultures, societies, and global studies, wanted to know why the official numbers differed so widely with projections from the early days of the pandemic that Africa would be especially vulnerable to the disease.
“The predictions of mass COVID casualties were based on a misunderstanding of the continent,” says Wamai, who has co-authored a new paper that details why the gloomy predictions have largely gone unrealized. “There are lessons we can learn about how the continent has handled the pandemic, or how the pandemic has manifested in the continent.”
Not only has Africa utilized unrecognized strengths to help fend off COVID-19, says Wamai, but it also offers clues that can be applied against future pandemics. Africa represents 12.5 percent of the global population, but it accounted for just 4 percent of the 3.4 million deaths that had been reported around the world as of May 18.