Africa has a very youthful population, with fewer than 3% above the age of 65. Three-fifths of the continent’s population is age 24 or below. Most of these young people are healthy, compared to in western countries, which have high obesity rates and underlying diseases.

Indeed, populations hit hardest by COVID-19 do skew older, with 75% of all deaths occurring in people 65 and over. A young population, however, cannot be the sole reason why the death rates are low, because other regions with disproportionately younger populations have not done nearly as well as African countries: Latin America has a comparatively similar age distribution with much higher rates of infections and deaths, according to World Bank statistics.

Another factor might be the age of those who are confirmed with the virus. In the US, approximately 70% of cases are in those aged under the age of 60. According to the Africa CDC, more than 85% of the coronavirus cases in Africa have occurred among people under 60, which puts them in a better position to fight off the disease.