The potential effects of widespread community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the WHO African Region: a predictive model

May 21, 2020

“The spread of SARS-CoV-2 has been unprecedented in its speed and effects. Interruption of its transmission to prevent widespread community transmission is critical because its effects go beyond the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths and affect the health system capacity to provide other essential services. Highlighting the implications of such a situation, the
predictions presented here are derived using a Markov Chain Model, with the transition states and country-specific probabilities derived based on currently available knowledge. The results predict a high risk of exposure in states of small size.

The needed mitigation measures would significantly strain health system capacities particularly for secondary and tertiary services, while many cases may pass undetected in primary care facilities due to weak diagnostic capacity and non-specific symptoms. The effect of avoiding widespread and sustained community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant, and most likely outweigh any costs of preventing such a scenario. Effective containment measures should be promoted in all countries to best manage the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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