Friday, September 4, 2020

Coronavirus in South Africa: Scientists explore surprise theory for low death rate

Image: AFP

BBC News

By Andrew Harding

Infection and death rates in many African countries have turned out to be much lower than initially feared. As the number of infections dips sharply in South Africa, experts there are exploring a startling hypothesis, as our Africa correspondent Andrew Harding reports from Johannesburg.

Crowded townships. Communal washing spaces. The impossibility of social distancing in communities where large families often share a single room...

For months health experts and politicians have been warning that living conditions in crowded urban communities in South Africa and beyond are likely to contribute to a rapid spread of the coronavirus.
"Population density is such a key factor. If you don't have the ability to social distance, the virus spreads," said Professor Salim Karim, the head of South Africa's ministerial advisory team on Covid-19.

But some experts are now posing the question, what if the opposite is also true? What if those same crowded conditions also offer a possible solution to the mystery that has been unresolved for months? What if those conditions - they are asking - could prove to give people in South Africa, and in similar settings globally, some extra protection against Covid-19?  Read more >>