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Africa surges past 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases

Africa surges past 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases
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Africa has reached 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday, a number that many experts say is probably considerably lower than the actual toll.

The milestone comes five months after Egypt reported the continent's first confirmed case of coronavirus on Feb. 14.

As of Friday, the continent of 1.3 billion people has reported 1,007,366 cases. More than 22,000 people so far have died across Africa from COVID-19, disease caused by the novel coronavirus, while more than 690,000 have recovered. 

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By comparison, the U.S. alone has reported 4.8 million cases and 160,115 deaths. Europe has reported over 3 million cases as well.

Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong told The Associated Press that estimating the true number of cases on the continent is “very tricky” because more than 70 percent of cases are asymptomatic and testing continues to lag. 

Because of this, researchers told the AP that Africa’s case count is likely much higher, up to 8 million or 9 million. Scientists have made similar predictions about the true scale of the disease in the U.S.

More than 75 percent of confirmed cases in the continent are in five countries: South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria. Nkengasong told the AP that Nigeria alone may have had up to 1 million cases by now had the country not acted swiftly.