Of the two million active coronavirus patients worldwide, only about 51,000 (2 per cent) are in critical condition, data from Worldometer, an online tracker of coronavirus, as of Saturday afternoon show.
The U.S., which has about one-third of all critical cases, Brazil, France, Iran and Spain respectively account for the highest cases of patients under critical condition from the infection.
Africa has only 126 of such cases, representing 0.5 per cent of its over 25,000 active cases.
South Africa, the continent’s most hit, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon and Tanzania share among themselves over 100 of these cases. Nigeria has two critical cases.
As COVID-19 cases inch toward 3.5 million globally, countries around the world, especially the worst hit, have been scrambling to expand their ICUs capacity as well as procure more ventilators to treat critically ill patients.
In March, U.S. president, Donald Trump, estimated that the country may need additional 100,000 ventilators in about 100 days, while urging manufacturers to ramp up production of ventilators.
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France said it aims to produce 10,000 more respirators in addition to the 10,000 it already has, according to WHO. The UK, too, WHO said in April, was seeking 18,000 ventilators.
In Africa, cases, which have risen exponentially in recent days, are relatively low. Experts have, however, said a spike in cases may be fatal as the important medical equipment are scant across the continent.
Data from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) say that South Sudan has just four ventilators and 24 ICU beds for a population of 12 million people. That is one ventilator for every three million people.
Burkina Faso has 11 ventilators, Sierra Leone 13, and Central African Republic 3, according to the non-governmental organization. South Africa has about 1000 ICU beds while Malawi has 25 ICU beds for its 17 million people.
Nigeria has 350 ICUs for its 200 million population and, according to The Punch, less than 500 ventilators nationwide.
“Our health system is not as strong as we’d like it to be,” the head of Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, said Chikwe Ihekweazu said. “It is because we are a bit worried about our capacity to deal with a large outbreak that we are focused so intensively on prevention and early detection.”