Nigeria and four other countries have been identified as responsible for over 80 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in West Africa, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) said.
Addressing Members of ECOWAS Parliament during the Second Extra Ordinary Session which is holding via video conference, WAHO, however said that the case fatality rate in the region is under control.
The Director-General of WAHO, Stanley Okolo, while making a presentation to Parliament, said that as at July 16, the five countries recorded 84,118 cases out of the 96,936 cases in the region.
Okolo said “five countries contributed almost 80 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in the region, namely: Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea.
“What is important is to note the case fatality rate: how many people died because of COVID-19.
“In our region, it is still relatively low at about 1.6 per cent, but that of course hides the fact that it is a rise from about 0.5 per cent to some countries that are at about 6 per cent,” he said.
The WAHO boss added that if the number of active cases were to be considered, then Guinea Bissau with over 1,000 active cases would be added to the list of highest contributors.
He said that the case fatality rate for the region was currently at a median of about 2.16 per cent and an average of 1.6 per cent.
“But the range of people dying after COVID-19 diagnosis is from about 0.57 per cent in Ghana to about six per cent in Niger.
“If you look at our active cases, it is common where we have a higher population density.
“We are not able to get all the figures from some districts in Mali and Niger due to insecurity.”
He re-echoed the disclaimer about the peculiarity or not of COVID-19 among certain age groups, sexes or class.
He, however, noted that the younger people accounted for more of the cases, adding that the age-group contributed to the highest number of those who are nonchalant about precautions.
He explained that “COVID-19 does not respect age or sex.
“Yes, diagnosis is more common in men than women, but when you look at the age distribution, you will find that from the youngest to the oldest, COVID-19 tends to cut across all ages but commonest in the young age group.
“These are the people who often don’t take things serious and that is the tragedy of our situation in West Africa, because they are the ones who often survive, but then, if they do infect the old ones, we will have a major problem.
“So, we have to target the young ones.”