Ezra Gayawan, Olawale Awe, Bamidele M Oseni, Ikemefuna C. Uzochukwu, Adeshina Adekunle, Gbemisola Samuel, Damon P Eisen, Oyelola A Adegboye. (2020) The spatio-temporal epidemic dynamics of COVID-19 outbreak in Africa. medRxiv 2020.04.21.20074435; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.21.20074435
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. Although the disease appears on the African continent late, it has spread to virtually all the countries. We provide early spatio-temporal dynamics of COVID-19 within the first 62 days of the disease’s appearance on the African continent. We used a two-parameter hurdle Poisson model to simultaneously analyze the zero counts and the frequency of occurrence. We investigate the effects of important healthcare capacities including hospital beds and number of medical doctors in the different countries. The results show that cases of the pandemic vary geographically across Africa with notable high incidence in neighboring countries, particularly in West and North Africa. The burden of the disease (per 100,000) was most felt in Djibouti Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Temporally, during the first 4 weeks, the burden was highest in Senegal, Egypt and Mauritania, but by mid-April it shifted to Somalia, Chad, Guinea, Tanzania, Gabon, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Currently, Namibia, Angola, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda have the least burden. The findings could be useful in implementing epidemiological intervention and allocation of scarce resources based on the heterogeneity of the disease patterns.