A study conducted by the World Health Organization found that the actual number of COVID-19 infections in Africa is actually 97% higher than what had been previously reported.

According to Africa’s Centers for Disease Control, just under 16% of the continent’s population is fully vaccinated. A mere 250,000 COVID deaths have been recorded, due to lackluster healthcare systems, as the true number is likely much higher.

According to Bloomberg, the low reported number had many believing that Africans are more resistant to COVID-19 than the rest of the world's population, although this assertion has been dismissed by many experts.

The WHO’s analysis found that exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 surged from 3% in June 2020 to 65% by September of last year. The data found also suggests that nearly 70% of all Africans have been exposed to COVID-19.

According to its findings, the total case numbers increased from 8.2 million to 800 million during those times respectively, with infections surging the most during the rampage of the Delta and Omicron variants.

“This analysis shows that current reported COVID-19 confirmed cases are only a fraction of the actual number of infections on the continent,” Africa's WHO Regional Director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said. “This under-counting is occurring worldwide and it’s no surprise that the numbers are particularly large in Africa where there are so many cases with no symptoms.”

The United Nations' health agency clarified that COVID-19 cases in Africa have been milder compared to other areas. This is because the continent has a relatively smaller number of people who are at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Furthermore, according to global partnership Cities Alliance, nearly 60% of the continent's population is under 25 years old.

“Testing enables us to track the virus in real-time, monitor its evolution and assess the emergence of new variants," Moeti said. "Countries must ramp up testing, contact tracing and surveillance so we can stay a step ahead of COVID-19.”