Researchers at CDDEP developed a compartmental model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to estimate the COVID-19 case burden for 52 African countries while considering four scenarios: no intervention, moderate lockdown, hard lockdown and hard lockdown with continued restrictions once lockdown is lifted. We further analysed the potential impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB).

The Question: Despite relatively lower numbers of reported COVID-19 cases initially, many African countries experienced an exponential increase in case numbers. The pandemic is now rapidly spreading across the African continent. Estimates of the potential impact of interventions and burden of disease are essential for policymakers to make evidence-based decisions on the distribution of limited resources and to balance the economic costs of interventions with the potential for saving lives. To support evidence-based decision making, we modeled the possible trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 in 52 African countries under different intervention scenarios.

What We Found: In the absence of an intervention, the most populous countries had the highest peaks in active projected number of infections with Nigeria having an estimated 645,081 severe infections. The scenario with a hard lockdown and continued post-lockdown
interventions to reduce transmission was the most efficacious strategy for delaying the time to the peak and reducing the number of cases. In South Africa, projected peak severe infections increase from 162,977 to 203,261, when vulnerable populations with HIV/AIDS and TB are included in the analysis.

The study titled, “Modelling COVID-19 transmission in Africa: countrywise projections of total and severe infections under different lockdown scenarios,” was published on February 05, 2021 in BMJ Open and is available for download above and online here.