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Inevitable Covid-19 fourth wave predicted for early December – Professor Salim Abdool Karim

Covid-19 patients are being treated at the Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria. File picture: Jerome Delay/AP

Covid-19 patients are being treated at the Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria. File picture: Jerome Delay/AP

Published Aug 18, 2021

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A Covid-19 fourth wave is “inevitable” according to the Department of Health and some of the country’s leading experts have predicted that it could start around the beginning of December.

Infectious disease expert and former chairperson of the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, said the fourth wave of infections could start around December 2 and last for over two and a half months.

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According to Bloomberg, Karim revealed this during a Government Technical Advisory Centre conference.

Karim said data suggests the third wave could end around the end of August and government is assuming the fourth wave will follow a similar pattern with an addition of a new variant.

Department of Health spokesperson Foster Mohale said the country’s hospitals are ready to handle the possible influx of cases resulting from the fourth wave.

“The predictions are that the fourth wave is inevitable. The hospitals, both public and private, are ready to handle the hospitalisations that may result from the fourth wave. This was demonstrated by the way in which they managed the third wave, where we never reached half of the beds that were dedicated to Covid-19 admissions,” he said.

“It may be too early to tell if the vaccine roll-out will be able to ease the burden, given the rate of vaccination. It is, however, expected that the numbers may be reduced as more and more get vaccinated.”

Last week, Western Cape head of health Dr Keith Cloete said there is “a very real risk” of a fourth wave and that the biggest mitigation will be to get as many people vaccinated before the next wave.

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“We have a window of four months to get everyone over 18 years of age to register, and present themselves at the multiple vaccination points to be vaccinated,” he said.

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