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There is no sign of a third wave ’at this point’ – Wits professor

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Health economist Professor Alex van den Heever says there is no sign of a third wave in South Africa at this point.

CAPE TOWN: Health economist Professor Alex van den Heever says there is no sign of a third wave in South Africa at this point.

Van den Heever, who was speaking on SABC’s Morning Live programme, said the issue now was really how we prevent certain high-risk super-spreading periods from driving another wave of coronavirus infections.

According to the latest data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), positivity rates were still below 5% and there were no signs of increased rates of infection in 50 of the 52 districts of the country.

In the Free State province there has been a slight increase in infections and hospital cases in the past few weeks. Two outliers, in Gauteng and Limpopo, have also shown slight increases in infections over the past few days.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases for South Africa is currently over 1 545 979 and over 52 000 deaths. Recoveries stand at nearly 1.5 million, representing a recovery rate of 95%.

Van den Heever said: “There is still a large population that is susceptible to infection, which means we can have serious waves coming forward, but it is largely waves being driven by super-spreading events. That’s clearly what happened in November and December, and therefore there is that risk now.

“So the issue is to prevent these super-spreading periods from driving another wave and I think that’s where the caution is going to lie. But there’s no sign of a third wave at this point, and it is entirely driven by human behaviour,” he said.

Meanwhile, local experts have come to the consensus that there will be a third wave – much like many European countries are currently experiencing.

They say that it would be in the aftermath of Easter celebrations, some citing relaxed lockdown regulations and holiday revelry as the reasons for the resurgence.

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