Call to flatten Covid-19 curve as Western Cape enters third wave
Share this article:
SOUTH Africa has entered the much-feared third wave of Covid-19 infections, recording more than 9 000 new infections and 100 deaths over the past 24 hours.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said the national seven-day moving average incidence (5 959 cases) exceeded the new wave threshold, as defined by the Ministerial Advisory Committee.
The committee advisory defined the new wave seven-day moving average threshold, as 30% of the peak incidence of the previous wave.
The latest data shows that the country recorded 9 149 new infections, bringing the total number of active cases to 71 617. The death toll now stands at 54 710, after 100 more were recorded on Thursday.
The majority of new cases were from Gauteng (61%), followed by the Western Cape (10%).
Both the Free State and North West provinces accounted for 6%, said the NICD.
There was an increase of 844 admissions in the past 24 hours and 127 additional in-hospital deaths reported.
In the Western Cape, health officials said that Covid-19 case numbers were increasing by an average of 430 new diagnoses each day – about a 31% increase week-on-week.
There were currently 5 802 active infectious cases, a 1 400 increase (34%) in active cases in the past week alone.
Head of the Health Department Dr Keith Cloete said: “We have been showing a very clear upward trend for five weeks in a row and an acceleration over the past two weeks, which signals to us that we are entering a third wave. Hospitalisations are increasing, oxygen use is increasing, the number of deaths is also increasing and, very importantly, the proportion of positive cases that come back from laboratories has also increased.
“For every 10 active cases, they are now infecting 12 new cases. Hospital admissions are increasing, with 52 new admissions per day. Deaths may also be starting to increase, with around five to six deaths each day, although the absolute numbers are small.
“If we want to meaningfully flatten the curve, we need to avoid gatherings, and observe stronger adherence to mask wearing and social distancing,” said Cloete.
Acute hospitals had 1 028 Covid-19 patients (457 in public hospitals and 571 in private hospitals) and the combined public-private oxygen utilisation was now 28.43 tons per day.
To date, the province has administered a total of 249 009 vaccines, including 93 153 from the Sisonke health workers programme.
“We’ve currently got 3 398 vaccinators. The big issue is the vaccine supply. We’ve only been getting Pfizer doses to date. Week-on-week, our ability to vaccinate is now limited by the available doses we have for the coming week. The big issue here is the Johnson & Johnson supply constraint. We are all waiting anxiously for the FDA ruling for the release of the vaccines, to bring it into the pipeline so that we can step up the number of doses we have to do to reach our targets,” said Cloete.
Premier Alan Winde said: “It is concerning, we need to make sure everybody keeps flattening that curve. Our current projections are that this third wave will be less severe than the second wave, but we cannot be sure at this stage.
“That is why it requires every single person to play their part and ’flatten the curve’ by making sure that you don’t get infected or spread Covid-19 during this time.
“With vaccines starting to arrive in South Africa, we are a small step closer to beating Covid-19. That is why we must not give up now and we must fight back by protecting ourselves and our loved ones.”