Africa has so far been spared the worst of the coronavirus. That could soon change.

The African continent is extremely vulnerable to a large-scale coronavirus outbreak, but not just in the way you might think.

Nearly every country in Africa has recorded at least one case of Covid-19, leading over 30 nations on the continent to impose lockdowns to slow the spread. As of April 20, sub-Saharan Africa has more than 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 confirmed deaths.

The lower numbers than others could mean African nations acted early to stop a wider outbreak, but also that there have been very few tests on the continent and a young population might not suffer as visibly as places like Europe. In other words, there may be a larger outbreak that just hasn’t been officially identified yet.

Either way, experts warn those low numbers are unlikely to last. Millions in Africa buy the food they eat on the day they eat it. Storing large amounts of sustenance just isn’t a viable option, which means the daily trip to the market is vital for many. Governments asking people to socially distance, then, likely won’t work in the long run.

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