Characteristics and factors associated with COVID-19-related deaths in Africans

COVID-19 is a disease of public health importance that is highly transmissible and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There has been concern that the pandemic will result in mass deaths in Africa a result of the weak health system and insecurity on the continent.. However, the evidence available did not support the assumption. This communication presents a systematic review on factors associated with low COVID-19 related mortality in Africa. We searched the Google scholar, MEDLINE, Embase, Publics Ovidius Naso and Cochrane databases for all studies on COVID-19 related deaths in Africa published in English language from December 2019 to January, 2021. The references of relevant articles were also reviewed for additional publications. Data from the studies were independently extracted and assessed by the three authors using a standardised form. There was consensus among the authors on the selected studies used in this review. Twenty-one studies were identified and independently assessed based on the objectives of the study by the authors. All the studies presented at least a factor that could possibly be associated with low death rate from COVID-19 in Africa. Younger population age, cross and herd immunities, previous BCG vaccination, relative hot climatic advantage, community practice and dominance of blood group O were main factors suggested to be associated with low mortality rate from the pandemic in Africa.

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