Calm before the storm as Covid-19 fourth wave looms for SA
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As South Africans enjoy the eased restrictions that come with level 1 of the pandemic, the dark cloud of the dreaded fourth wave, which is predicted to start in a month and stretch into the festive season, is an ever-present reminder of the tumultuous nature of Covid-19.
Indeed, it appears that the country is now expecting the calm before another storm. It has intensified its vaccination drive in anticipation of the expected fourth wave and is encouraging more people to take their vaccines.
The message is still clear and people are being asked to sanitise, maintain their social distancing and to avoid large crowds and gatherings.
Deputy President David Mabuza, on the campaign trail in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend, spoke of the Covid paradox that was taking place in the country when he said there were enough vaccines but not enough people to vaccinate.
There are areas that have low vaccine uptakes and these are the areas that are most concerning to the Health Department and pandemic experts.
The most vaccines have been administered in Gauteng with 5 million followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape with just over 3 million jabs each. It is incomprehensible to expect the current lockdown level to transition into the festive season – hundreds of thousands of people will travel to holiday destinations and government will not allow such a scenario during the fourth wave.
Expect tighter restrictions but this will be exacerbated if the vaccine programme is not supported.The Health Department has warned that to avoid a fourth wave and stricter restrictions, 70% or more of the adult population had to be vaccinated by the middle of December.
Covid has tested the nation’s ability to be resolute in the face of the pandemic and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
* Chetty is regional politics head at Independent Media.