Severe Covid Steals More Lives in African Countries

Patients who end up hospitalized with severe Covid are far likelier to die in Africa than other parts of the world, The New York Times reports, citing a new Lancet studytying the heightened risk to critical care resource shortages. 

  • Nearly half (48.2%) of critically ill patients admitted to the African hospitals died within 30 days, according to the study of 3,000+ patients in 64 hospitals across 10 African countries. The global average is 31.5%.

 
The research highlights the need in these countries for more specialized personnel as well as equipment, such as blood oxygen monitors, the BBC reports.

Warning: Overall, cases and deaths still appear lower than in other regions—but the findings hint that the death toll could worsen if the virus’s spread picks up.
 
“In fact only one of two patients who are referred to critical care actually get into critical care. And once they're there, therapies we can provide are way less than they should be,” says Bruce Biccard, one of the lead researchers, from South Africa’s University of Cape Town.

Takeaway: Vaccine inequality needs to be addressed—because they can block severe infections, which is especially key in low-resource settings.

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