Home South African Covid-19 death toll in SA could now reach 31 000 by December

Covid-19 death toll in SA could now reach 31 000 by December

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The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released updated Covid-19 forecasts this week which showed that the death toll in South Africa could be reduced from an estimated 41,402 to 31,529 by December 1.

File image. Photo: Supplied

Durban – A US-based health institute has released an updated Covid-19 forecast, which shows a substantial decline of almost 10 000 fewer deaths for South Africa.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released updated Covid-19 forecasts this week which showed that the death toll in South Africa could be reduced from an estimated 41,402 to 31,529 by December 1.

However, this could be only achieved by increasing adherence to mask-wearing and re-imposing social distancing mandates if daily deaths exceed 8 per million.

The institute, founded by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, specialises in research and work in the area of global health statistics and impact evaluation.

Ali Mokdad, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME said wearing a mask, disinfection and maintaining social distance proved to be effective in reducing cases.

The country has seen a decline in daily infection rate since August and the government has further eased the lockdown to level 2.

Easing into level 2 will see more sectors reopen, the return of the sale of alcohol and cigarettes, as well as inter-provincial travel will be allowed from midnight.

All sporting activities, beaches, gyms and parks are also allowed to operate.

“There are different peaks; peaks of infections, peaks of hospitalisations, peaks of deaths. Cases are coming down in South Africa and deaths will come down as a result.

But it takes about three weeks to see a decline in deaths after there is a peak of cases.

“The key factor is people’s behaviours, as we see more people wearing masks and decreasing their mobility, and being careful when cases arise. But, unfortunately, people let down their guard when cases come down.

“All South Africans must maintain these preventive measures. otherwise, a surge in cases and eventually more deaths will occur. We had a peak in the US in April in cases and deaths and now we have a second peak that is even higher,” warned Mokdad.

He encouraged people to continue wearing the right mask correctly to reduce the transmission of the virus.

“A mask protects both the individual wearing it, as well as others near the individual. Staying a safe distance from others also protects people from contracting the virus. Moreover, washing hands and disinfecting commonly used objects, such as doorknobs will reduce transmission and contain the virus,” he said.

He discouraged the connotation that some people have contracted the virus even though they have worn masks.

He said nurses who strictly adhere to safety measures when treating Covid-19 patients reduce the likelihood infection among themselves to negligible levels.

“This virus is very patient, it waits for us to make mistakes. We cannot let down our guard. We must be vigilant,” he said.

He supported government plans to further ease the lockdown to a level 2 which would lift the ban on alcohol and cigarettes.

“These decisions, such as closing bars and conducting classes online, should be viewed in the context of the circulation of the virus in the community and not on their own. If the virus is controlled, then consider phased approaches to relaxing

“The ban will help the country. We know that bars have been a major source of new infections. Also parties, whether at home with friends or in bars or restaurants, are sources of outbreaks and setbacks.

“Some of the measures need to be lifted, as long as health officials closely monitor the conditions and are ready to reimpose closures if there is a rise in new infections,” he said.

Sunday Tribune