Apr 18, 2020 - World

African nations struggle to acquire supplies amid coronavirus pandemic

Health workers prepare to take samples during a community COVID-19 testing campaign in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: Kola Sulaimon/AFP/Getty Images

Several countries across Africa are struggling to get basic health supplies and ventilators as the number of coronavirus cases swells — highlighting how unprepared the continent is for the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The United Nations Economic Commission of Africa estimates that at least 300,000 Africans will die from the virus and 29 million could be pushed into extreme poverty, Reuters notes.

  • Unless there are major changes or an influx of cash soon, it's unlikely these projections will change.
  • 52 of the 54 countries in Africa have confirmed coronavirus cases, with about 20,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.

Many nations have taken action, such as implementing curfews and travel restrictions. Most of the continent has ordered social distancing measures.

  • Nigeria imposed a travel ban on 13 countries in mid-March, CNN reports.

The big picture: "The brutal withdrawal of the U.S. of its contribution to the W.H.O., and the management of the crisis more globally, is a stark reminder that Africa's faith in multilateralism has become untenable," Amy Niang, an international relations lecturer at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, told the Times.

The state of play: Less than 2,000 working ventilators are in place to serve hundreds of millions of people in public hospitals across 41 African countries, and 10 countries have none, The New York Times reports, citing WHO.

  • Even if hospitals can acquire new ventilators, they still have to worry about staffing, reliable electricity and sufficient oxygen supply.
  • There is widespread struggle to ensure people have access to necessities such as clean, running water and soap. Nearly 97% of homes in Liberia were without access to clean water and soap in 2017, per the U.N.

Yes, but: Major disparities exist among African nations. South Africa has more ventilators than others and a stronger economy, while Burkina Faso has 11 ventilators for its 20 million people, the Times notes.

Go deeper: Africa scrambles to contain coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,672,287 — Total deaths: 391,848 — Total recoveries — 2,895,167Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,875,402 — Total deaths: 108,278 — Total recoveries: 485,002 — Total tested: 18,680,529Map.
  3. Public health: Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. States: Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back.
  5. Jobs: Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May — Explaining a surprise jobs report.
  6. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.

Coronavirus cases spike in Texas, Oregon and Arizona

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.