JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ethiopia is dealing with COVID-19 and a civil war at the same time.
With a population of close to 110 million people, Ethiopia is one of the most populous countries in Africa. More than 120,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 2,000 COVID-19 deaths are on record there.
My cousin, Richard Coleman, his wife, Amanda, and their five children currently reside in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s largest city and the country’s capital.
“For us, life has been -- I won’t say normal, but it hasn’t been the same way that it has in the United States,” Coleman said during a Zoom interview Monday. “There are spiritual reasons if you ask people who live here. This is a highly religious country. There are perhaps altitude reasons. Perhaps there are other reasons. I’m not a scientist, but for whatever reason, our numbers are not as high as we’ve seen in the United States and Europe and other parts of the Western World.”
But those lower numbers may have more to do with testing. Ethiopia does not test as much as the U.S.
“We’re looking at around 5,000 tests being done a day for a country with about 110 million people,” Coleman said.
And while there is still a presence of COVID-19 in Ethiopia, there is also a civil war in the northern part of the country.
“There have been some missiles shot into some of those areas,” Coleman said.
The fighting is in a contained region and has not made its way to Addis Ababa.