Americans need to understand the Middle East
How much do we really know?

At The Media Line, we value all points of view and aim to mend our differences through fact-based narrative-inclusive journalism Help support our bold and brave team in Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Territories, the UAE, and beyond.
Help us continue our work and provide access to the news that matters to you.

Thank you and best wishes to you and yours for this Jewish New Year.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
Africa and the Coronavirus Epidemic
Ethiopian medical workers distribute cake to a COVID-19 patient on September 11 at a makeshift hospital in Addis Ababa. (Amanuel Sileshi/AFP via Getty Images)

Africa and the Coronavirus Epidemic

Al-Etihad, UAE, September 11

The coronavirus epidemic has been accompanied by many contradictions and mysteries since it appeared in our lives. Medical professionals and scientists have repeatedly failed at explaining the exact pathology of the disease and its side effects. One of the most perplexing mysteries remaining unsolved to date is the one related to the low rate of COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality on the African continent. Indeed, Africa might be the continent least affected by the pandemic. This is despite the obvious fact that public healthcare systems in most African countries are among the worst in the world, especially in comparison to rich, industrialized countries in which healthcare budgets sometimes exceed the budgets of several African states combined. Several explanations have been proposed to date. The first suggests that the data reported by African governments is simply inaccurate. However, even if this is true and African figures have been grossly deflated, there still exists a wide gap with Western nations that cannot be explained. Therefore, a different theory suggests that the gap stems from demographic differences, specifically the median age of the population. In general, the median age of the population in most African countries is about half the median age of those living in European countries. The elderly, who constitute a significant proportion of the population in Western societies, is the age group most likely to die from coronavirus-related illnesses. However, we know that even young people are not immune. A third theory posits that the gap has to do with climate. According to this approach, high temperatures in Africa limit the spread of the virus and slow down the disease. However, we already know that the virus continued to spread even during the peak of summer, including in arid parts of the Middle East. Indeed, June and July marked a second wave of morbidity in Europe. Therefore, the only possible explanation relates to genetics. According to this explanation, exposure to viral diseases that share a similar genetic makeup to the coronavirus can actually increase one’s resistance to COVID-19. Given the widespread poverty and poor sanitary conditions prevalent in many parts of the continent, it is possible that many people in Africa have developed a kind of cross-immunity that enabled their systems to better respond to the virus. This is a theory that, if proven correct, would dramatically change the way researchers and scientists approach the disease and work to prevent its spread. – Akmal Abdul Hakim (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.