Predicting the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Africa: the case of Namibia


African countries have a very different demographic structure than resource-rich countries: in many African countries, over 50% of the population live in rural communities. These communities are much smaller than urban communities, and are widely dispersed; therefore, in rural areas, there is ‘intrinsic social distancing’ due to low population density. There is considerable travel linking urban and rural areas.Although many severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission models have been fairly accurate in their predictions for resource-rich countries, models have tended to be very inaccurate in their predictions for Africa.1,2 We propose that one important reason for this inaccuracy is that the structure of the current models does not consider the spatial demography of African countries. We demonstrate the importance of spatial demography by using, as an example, spatial demographic and SARS-CoV-2 surveillance data3 from Namibia, where { extasciitilde}50% of the population live in rural areas.4

In Journal of Travel Medicine
Eugenio Valdano
Eugenio Valdano
Researcher (Chargé de recherche)

I study infectious disease epidemiology using data-rich mathematical models.