Africa reported its first case of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, on February 15, 2020—a full two months after it was first identified in China. This time series analysis tracks the expanding dissemination of reported cases of COVID-19 across the continent. It now has been reported in all 54 African countries. Hotspots have emerged in South Africa, North Africa, and West Africa with dissemination linked to a host of factors including urban population density, effectiveness of testing and reporting, and levels of international exposure, among others.
With confirmed cases in Africa rising at a rate of approximately 6 percent per day, further policy action and behavior change is needed if Africa is to avoid the worst effects of the pandemic. Recognizing the considerable variance across the continent, slowing the exponential expansion of the virus will rely on identifying the primary transmissions routes within each country and disrupting these.
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