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City of Tshwane health workers doing free Covid-19 testing on June 30 in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images

The number of new coronavirus cases in Africa is doubling every three weeks as the continent faces a wave of Delta variant infections, the World Health Organization announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The COVID-19 variant first discovered in India has been reported in 16 African countries and is dominant in South Africa, which accounted for over half of Africa’s cases for the week ending in June 27.

  • The variant was detected in 97% of samples in Uganda and in 79% of samples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Health Organization said citing the latest country reports.
  • Only 15 million people — just 1.2% of the continent's population of 1.3 billion — are fully vaccinated.

By the numbers: South Africa reported more than 20,000 new cases on Friday.

What they're saying: Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said the "speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before."

“The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level,” Moeti said in a statement. “More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy.”

Go deeper

Medicine's trust problem among women

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The lingering legacy of clinical trials failing to include women as participants, combined with frequent gaslighting by doctors and a general lack of research on women's bodies, has led many to mistrust medicine.

Why it matters: This mistrust plus a constant barrage of misinformation can influence women's health decisions, including deciding not to follow recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Updated 29 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
42 mins ago - Health

Study finds bias against Black patients written into medical charts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black patients were more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white patients to have negative descriptors about them in their electronic health record, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study is further evidence of bias in the U.S. health care system, which can ultimately result in worse care and disparately poor outcomes.