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WATCH: The role of science during a global pandemic

22112018 (Durban) Aids research Dr Salim Abdool Karim at CAPRISA lab in Umbilo, Durban. SA is at the epicentre of the global HIV/Aids epidemic, and its scientists are at the very heart of the quest to stop it in its tracks. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

22112018 (Durban) Aids research Dr Salim Abdool Karim at CAPRISA lab in Umbilo, Durban. SA is at the epicentre of the global HIV/Aids epidemic, and its scientists are at the very heart of the quest to stop it in its tracks. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 9, 2020

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CAPE TOWN -

While countries across the globe have responded differently to the Covid-19 outbreak, Chair of South Africa’s Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, says that South Africa has done well with the limited data available.

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Fake news and conspiracy theories flooded social media which caused a disruption, as leaders put to plan a lockdown strategy that would best fit their country.

“When we look at the scarcity of data available when we were making decisions, there were only three articles I could find on lockdown.

“And, none of these articles had answered the questions of when do you have a lockdown, how strict should it be and how long should it be,” said Abdool Karim.

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ALSO SEE: CALLS FOR CAPE RESIDENTS TO PREVENT SECOND CORONAVIRUS WAVE

FAKE NEWS

“One of our biggest challenges has been fake news. Although it has been inconsistent and inaccurate, a lot of the news has been promoting conspiracy theories,” he said.

Abdool Karim added that a recent study done by Cornell University in the United States analysed 38 million articles online and in print which showed over 1.1 million of those articles had completely inaccurate information.

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ALSO SEE: SA’S EPIDEMIC TRAJECTORY IS UNIQUE, SAYS ABDOOL KARIM

PAST THE PEAK

Meanwhile, Abdool Karim expected South Africa to reach its peak in April or early May, but because of the early action that was taken, it was pushed back.

“Now that we are over the peak and in a period we could call endemic transmission, we will likely see small increases driven by locations where there are small outbreaks.

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“This will likely be because of the movement of people, the release of restrictions and people lowering their guard,” he said.

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