Update on UP

Update on UP

Africa is breaking as covid cases surge.

Data collection and compilation varies so dramatically one country to another. Moreover collection and compilation has improved equally dramatically since the start of the pandemic, so each country’s numbers may be inflated by their improved collections. Suffice it to say that not a single African country reports the situation improving and many are sounding the alarm.

South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Botswana, Uganda and Kenya are sounding alarms and reimposing partial or complete lockdowns.

In Rwanda, soldiers have been conscripted to go house to house to enforce vaccination. In West Africa the situation is further complicated by a new and strong ebola outbreak.

In all cases African governments are reporting the strong surge and exploding numbers are caused specifically by the Delta variant.

South Africa is currently teetering on whether to maintain its slightly relaxed restrictions allowed the end of June. Cases and deaths had increased constantly since the first of March but by July there was hope the country had turned the corner.

Unfortunately things have gone bad since then. While the country has not yet reversed its relaxed regulations (“Alert Level 3″), the cabinet has amended those regulations so severely it might just as well be returning to its “Alert Level 4” lockdown.

The cabinet has also reauthorized a monthly stipend of Rand 350 for all persons between 18 and 60 years old, signaling that the virus remains in control of the country.

The one exception is The Cape where also most of the country’s 14% vaccinated live: there cases and deaths are in significant decline. It is undoubtedly The Cape’s good fortune which has kept the overall country from slipping back into “Alert 4.”

Botswana, one of the least densely populated countries earth, saw cases skyrocket the first of July as well. By the end of the month the government had prohibited all alcohol sales and threatened street hawkers with arrest as the virus in Gaberone seemed to exceed everyone’s expectations.

Egypt’s reported coronavirus numbers have always surprised me for being so low. But in the last few weeks even the reported numbers of cases and deaths have surged and the government responded by claiming it was stepping up the vaccination rate and expects to have 40% of its population protected before an “expected, serious fourth wave.”

Few countries had done as well as Morocco since early March. There were few deaths and new cases reported until an exploding number in late June.

Last week Kenya announced a strict curfew and a new suspension of all public gatherings as a result of the surge.

Tanzania also announced a “surge” but virus data was not gathered by the government from May, 2019, until late June, 2021. It’s hard to know on what basis the government is thus making that determination.

Uganda’s numbers are completely unreliable. In fact the plateaus, surges and declines can be correlated with political events in the country! But based on actions of its still reasonably good university and the tightened borders by neighbors Tanzania and Kenya, it can be presumed things aren’t good.

The country in the worst situation may be Nigeria. Thanks to good and transparent data collection and compilation by Lagos State it’s clear the country is in the midst of a terrible surge.

An important side story to all of this is the growing anger in Africa that western countries are now reserving vaccines to boost already inoculated citizens when less than 2% of its population of 1.34 billion jabbed even once.

Throw the problematic numbers and their compilations aside, and there’s no uncertainty in what the leaders of these countries believe. With few exceptions (like South Africa where there is a relatively high rate of vaccination) it’s worse than it’s ever been and it may even become worse than that, soon.