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SA excess deaths at six-month high as Delta spreads

With 63 039 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, South Africa is the worst-hit nation on the continent.
Image: Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Excess deaths, seen as a more precise way of measuring total fatalities from the coronavirus, rose to their highest level since January in South Africa as the delta variant spread to all of the country’s nine provinces.

In the week ended June 27, the country recorded 5 228 deaths compared with 1 729 official deaths from the virus, the South African Medical Research Council said in a report Wednesday. The number of deaths, which is measured against a historical average, was the highest since the week ending January 24 and compared with 4 145 the week earlier.

The surge in deaths is being driven by a severe third wave of infections in Gauteng, the industrial hub that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. Excess deaths in Gauteng rose to a second consecutive weekly pandemic-era record with the province where one in four South Africans live recording 3 224 more deaths than would normally be expected.

Still, the seven-day average shows that infections may have peaked in the province. The proportion of national daily infections from Gauteng fell below 50% on Wednesday after climbing to as high as 69% in recent weeks. That indicates that infections are now rising in other regions.

With 63 039 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, South Africa is the worst-hit nation on the continent. Still, national excess deaths over the course of the pandemic exceed 182 000, indicating a much higher death toll from the virus.

While the main part of South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout started only in May the number of people vaccinated daily has climbed steadily, reaching over 180 000 on Wednesday. So far more than 3.8 million doses have been administered.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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‘SA excess deaths at six-month high as poverty, misery and economic desperation spreads’. Covid is not even in our list of top 10 issues in this country. The way it’s been handled and the irrational response to it has exacerbated misery and hardship for our country for a generation.

What’s the alternative then? Fill our hospitals way past capacity, place extra burden on medical aids, the state and public health that have to deal with long term side effects, or just let people die?

It’s this kind of thinking that is irrational. Lockdown is the only way to curb the spread. There is normally always knee-jerk reactions from governments initially in emergencies/disasters. Very few countries had any decent preparation in place (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore are some that did)

It would be nice if everyone wore their masks, kept their distance and sanitised, but the reality is somewhat different.

The Delta variant does pose a greater risk to us, but the more worrying variant is that of Lambda which is still being researched and may pose an even greater risk to vaccine efficacy and spread.

Your mistake is trusting a government’s interpretation and response to a problem. Have you not been paying attention the last 20 years? Everything the government touches turns to ash. The government is destroying the economy in an attempt to stop a virus that spreads seasonally regardless.

and your desperation to continue living in fear by looking forward to new variants is telling. Variants mutate to become more contagious and less deadly. The incessant fear-mongering is not a virtue. But you can continue voluntarily staying home for as long as you want. It’s just not government’s job to say who can and can’t leave their house or earn a living.

End of comments.

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