South Africa Virus Resurgence May be Cut by Previous Infection Rate

A health worker arranges seating at a Covid-19 vaccination program registration tent in Brits, South Africa on April 30. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) --South Africa will likely experience a weaker “third wave” of coronavirus infections because studies in January and February show 30% to 40% of the population has already contracted the disease, the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium said.

By Antony Sguazzin and S’thembile Cele
May 3, 2021, 7:08 PM – Updated on May 4, 2021, 11:54 AM
Word Count: 265

Depending on the strength of the government response to a rise in cases, the number of fatalities from a third wave could range between 7,800 and 70,200, said the consortium, which is linked to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

That would compare with 40,000 deaths in the initial wave of infections and 88,500 in the second surge, the consortium said in a statement on Monday. The consortium uses its own estimate of deaths in and out of hospital, which is significantly higher than the official toll of 54,417.

South Africa has confirmed 1.58 million coronavirus infections so far, the most in Africa. The rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases stands at about 1,200, down from a peak of almost 19,000 in January.

Read more: J&J Delay Is Latest Setback to South Africa Vaccination Plans

The nation’s medical authorities have intensified their surveillance of travelers who could be carrying a virus variant that’s been wreaking havoc in India, and the government is consulting on whether to introduce further restrictions to prevent its spread.

“We wish to reassure citizens that there are no direct flights from India and that all our ports of entry employ stringent containment procedures to minimize the importation of Covid-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement. “We are currently on high alert to screen passengers and test those who require further assessment.”

(Updates with infection numbers in fourth paragraph.)

–With assistance from Paul Richardson.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]

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