COVID-19 IN THE MENA REGION: AN UPDATE
Rawan Honeini, Rana Zareef, Nour K Younis, Mira Rahm, Fadi Bitar, Mariam Arabi
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
This manuscript is an updated version of a previous study that discusses the status of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It aims to analyze the change in COVID-19 caseload and outcome, as well as the progress in vaccination programs in the region. It dissects factors contributing to the asymmetrical distribution of the disease. Data was recovered from the World Health Organization, COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, Our World in Data organization, and the detailed reports issued by the ministry of health of each country. Information gathered included new cases, cumulative cases, and cumulative deaths, in addition to the total vaccine doses administered and population size of each country. PubMed and Medline were also surfed for relevant studies. The numbers correspond to the data between January 29, 2020, and November 17, 2021. The MENA region reported 15,351,715 cases and 272,428 deaths accounting for 6.1% and 5.31% of the global numbers respectively. Iran reserved the highest number of cases and deaths in the region despite achieving 50% fully vaccinated community. Iraq moved to the second rank in terms of caseload (2,070,883 cases), while Saudi Arabi had remarkable downward shift in disease weight. Lebanon and Egypt lost control over the pandemic. Syria, Yemen, and Libya have recorded near to the ground vaccination proportions. Case fatality rate ranged between 0.25%-19.39%. This region exhibits significant inequality in the pandemic trend secondary to wide variation in political, economic, social and medical solidity among the countries.