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2 million coronavirus cases confirmed in Africa

2 million coronavirus cases confirmed in Africa

Two million coronavirus cases have been confirmed across Africa since the beginning of pandemic, the continent's top health authority said Thursday.

An official with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told reporters at a press conference that African countries were "inevitably edging toward a second wave” of COVID-19 cases, The Associated Press reported.

“We cannot relent. If we relent, then all the sacrifices we put into efforts over the past 10 months will be wiped away,” said Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong, according to the news service.

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"Many countries are not enforcing public health measures, including masking, which is extremely important," he added.

Nkengasong also discussed Pfizer's recent announcement about the success rate of its vaccine candidate. He noted that distribution across the continent would be "extremely challenging," especially in remote areas, because the vaccine would require storage at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

And with a potential vaccine still a ways off, Nkengasong said the virus will undoubtedly continue its spread across the continent.

“Absolutely no doubt you’ll see COVID spread into more rural areas” in the coming weeks, he said, according to the AP.

The continent as a whole still trails behind some large countries, including the U.S., Russia and India, in terms of confirmed cases. Africa is home to roughly 4 percent of the world's total confirmed cases of and deaths from COVID-19.

About 48,000 people on the continent have died from the virus since the pandemic began. Africa passed 1 million cases in August, while the U.S. recorded more than 1 million new cases in a one-week period this month.