The meek have not inherited the coronavirus.

Half of African countries have Covid death rates lower than 1 in 10,000 people – less than one-twentieth the American rate.

These low death rates are NOT because the coronavirus has missed Africa somehow. Antibody testing across the continent shows very high rates of Covid infection and recovery.

Malawi, population 20 million, has had fewer than 2,600 Covid deaths. Yet as NPR reported last week in a piece called “Africa may have reached the pandemic’s holy grail,” up to 80 percent of people in Malawi had Covid antibodies by last summer.

Much of this advantage is due to demographics. The average Malawian just turned 18 and is thus at little risk. Still, African countries collectively have about 150 million people over 50. About one-third of those are over 65.

To care for this population, Africa has only a relative handful of hospitals that meet Western standards – a gap that led to predictions of disaster.

In March 2020, the British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson and Imperial College London said Covid would hit poor countries much harder than rich ones, because their health-care systems would likely be overwhelmed. Ferguson predicted poor countries might face up to 40 million deaths by the end of 2020.

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