New projections see South African COVID cases climb

By AT editor - 22 May 2020 at 3:45 am
New projections see South African COVID cases climb

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa continues to climb, with the Ministry of Health reporting 30 additional deaths on Thursday and a toll that has reached 369 victims.

Among them is a 2-day-old baby who was born prematurely and did not survive on a ventilator.

“The mother had tested positive for COVID-19 and the child subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 as well,” the ministry said in a statement. South Africa also lost a health care worker in the Western Cape region.

All told, South Africa reported 1,134 new cases, bringing the total to 19,137. It has confirmed the most positive cases on the continent by a wide margin – Egypt has just over 14,000 – though both Egypt and Algeria have recorded more fatalities, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

New projections from the COVID-19 Modelling Consortium at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases warn of up to 50,000 fatalities by November in a worst-case scenario, which assumes that a lockdown through the end of May followed by social distancing measures will have less impact on COVID-19 transmission.

That scenario also envisions 1.2 million symptomatic cases and significantly more pressure on hospital ICU resources.

A more hopeful scenario predicts a 60 percent reduction in transmission during lockdown through May, as opposed to 40 percent, and a 20 percent reduction through social distancing, as opposed to 10 percent in the worst-case scenario. That could still mean 40,000 fatalities by November, with peak strain on hospital ICU resources in September.

On the current trajectory, Eastern and Western Cape are facing the more pessimistic scenario, while Free State is in the best position. All others are tracking in the optimistic scenario.

“The initial social distancing and lockdown measures have worked,” the report said, but in almost all scenarios hospital and ICU resources will be exceeded by the caseload.

Image: NICD COVID-19 Modelling Consortium


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