Third Covid-19 wave could strike Western Cape by May, says MEC
Cape Town – For the fourth consecutive week, Covid-19 cases across the Western Cape have declined but predictions of a third wave point to around May, leaving the provincial health department to caution residents to remain vigilant.
This came to light during the latest digicon health officials hosted yesterday, where it was also revealed that trauma cases had increased by 105% since the alcohol ban was lifted.
“Third-wave scientists think it could be around May, it could be later or earlier,” Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said.
Head of health Dr Keith Cloete said: “What we do know is there is a high probability we will have a third wave. It is difficult for us because internationally there has not been other third waves to learn from. So as evidence emerges and we have more certainty, we have to plan for different scenarios.
“We should remain vigilant and continue to adhere to protective behaviours to reduce new cases, while restrictions are lifted in a phased manner, and there’s the real prospect of a third wave.”
Premier Alan Winde said: “It was a big blow that the AstraZeneca vaccine was not as effective but this virus keeps on testing us. We are not over this year, the potential of a third wave is on its way.”
It also came to light that trauma cases had increased, jumping from 296 patients a week while the ban was in effect to 596 patients after the ban was lifted.
“Immediately after the alcohol ban was lifted, the absolute number of trauma cases increased by 105%,” said Cloete.
The average daily trauma presentations increased by 88%, he added.
Cloete said the emerging evidence of vaccine efficacy against the new variant, 501Y.V2, would impact on vaccine availability over the coming months.
“It is estimated that 300 000 to 500 000 doses of the Johnson&Johnson (J&J) vaccine would be available shortly to be used as part of an open label clinical trial in health-care workers.
“The limited doses of J&J vaccine will require further sequencing and prioritisation amongst health-care workers across the platform. The trial will be conducted over the coming weeks. The vaccine will be registered for use in 12 weeks’ time.”
As of yesterday the Western Cape recorded an additional 409 cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 6 729. The province also recorded 28 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 107 559.