Third wave only in the Free State but other provinces showing increases, says NICD

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published May 13, 2021

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CAPE TOWN: The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it’s only the Free State which is experiencing a third wave.

In the past three days, the Free State has reported over 1 000 new infections – with most of them recorded in the epicentre of the deadly virus, the Mangaung Metro, followed by the Lejweleputswa region, and Thabo Mofutsanyane.

While the Northern Cape never met the technical criterion for exiting the second wave, the province has experienced a significant resurgence in recent weeks. Five other provinces (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and the Western Cape) are showing sustained increases.

NICD acting executive director Professor Adrian Puren said that while we have not yet crossed the national threshold for a new wave, the current trajectory is worrisome and – should it continue its course – we will likely cross the threshold for a new wave in the coming weeks.

“If members of the public rapidly implement meticulous social distancing and adhere to non-pharmaceutical measures, transmission will decline and the third wave will be delayed. And with the vaccination of elderly people scheduled to commence next week, delaying the third wave will provide more time to vaccinate those most at risk for severe disease, and will thus save lives”, Puren said.

Data from the last reporting week (May 3 to May 9,, 2021) showed an overall 46% new case increase in comparison to the previous reporting week (April 26 to May 2, 2021), with the Northern Cape (68%), Gauteng (63%) and Limpopo (47%) provinces topping the list.

Although there has not been an increase in hospital admissions, Covid-19-related deaths increased by 18% in comparison to the preceding week, with the following provinces accounting for 81% of all reported fatalities: Eastern Cape and Western Cape (21% respectively), Gauteng (20%) and KwaZulu-Natal (19%).

According to a Ministerial Advisory Committee Technical Working Group, a resurgence occurs when the seven-day moving average incidents exceed 30% of the previous wave’s peak.

Nationally the seven-day moving average incidence peaked at about 18 800 cases on January 11, 2021 – equating to a new seven-day average moving threshold incidence wave of about 5 600 cases per day. As of May 12, 2021, the national seven-day moving average incidence is about 1 950 cases.

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