The Citizen (Gauteng)
Third wave is here – Mkhize
COVID-19: GETS SERIOUS AT 5 500 NEW DAILY CASES
Daily average in last week stands at just over 1 600.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the country is already starting the third wave of Covid-19 infections and has told provinces to urgently start taking measures to “start intensive containment measures”.
If this was not done, then the numbers would “not go down”, he warned.
In the latest statistics sent to Mkhize and seen by News 24, the country had recorded 2 758 new cases as of Wednesday.
It recorded 1 548 new cases and 71 deaths on Tuesday.
Cases have already been rapidly increasing, with the Free State confirming last week it had already entered the third wave and Gauteng announcing it expected the wave to hit in a few weeks.
For a third wave to be declared nationally, new daily cases would have to exceed 5 500. The current seven-day average stands at just above 1 600.
The severity of the third wave will depend on whether it arrives in May or July/August, says Covid-19 Working Group of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (Assa) member Adam Lowe.
He says the data indicates the third wave will follow the pattern of the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919, which saw the quick arrival of a third wave after the second wave.
If this pattern is emulated, the third wave is likely to be less severe than the second.
From the three scenarios foreseen, an early third wave in May is the most likely.
The second scenario will see the third wave having a similar magnitude to the second wave. The longer the peak is delayed, the more likely it will be that this scenario will play out.
Lowe says for a third wave to have a similar magnitude to the second, it would require the virus to overcome immunity levels in some way through mutation or if reduced immunity levels.
The worst-case scenario would be an early third wave in May that is as severe or more severe than the second wave.
A combination of circumstances would be required to create an environment where an even more infectious variant runs through a population with lower-than-anticipated immunity.