COVID-19-related deaths increased by 80% in Africa in the last month, according to the World Health Organization.
“Death rates have increased across Africa, with the highest weekly rate (6,343) to date reported during the week starting 19 July 2021,” Phionah Atuhebwe, WHO’s vaccine introduction officer for Africa, told CNN.
The majority of new deaths stemmed from Southern Africa, Atuhebwe told CNN. Over 16,000 deaths happened in the region, while 6,036 people died in North Africa.
The highly transmittable and deadlier Delta variant of the virus is mainly responsible for the increase, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Almost four million cases were reported to WHO last week, and on current trends, we expect the total number of cases to pass 200 million within the next two weeks,” Ghebreyesus said.
The vaccination rates on the continent have been extremely slow, with 1.5% of Africa’s one billion people being fully vaccinated, according to reports. Africa relies on most of its vaccines from the U.S., China and India.
“All regions are at risk, but none more so than Africa… Many African countries have prepared well to roll out vaccines, but the vaccines have not arrived,” Ghebreyesus said. “This is a very serious problem if we’re going to take action against this pandemic and end it.”