Six or seven of every 10 people in SA ‘will get Covid-19’

But a fraction of those will be serious cases – health minister.
Mkhize’s comments align with those made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who last week warned that up to 70% of the German population could contract the disease. Image: Supplied

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says that between 60% and 70% of South Africans will contract coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), but a fraction of that percentage will be serious cases.

His remarks, made during a special session with doctors under the umbrella of the South African Medical Association (Sama) in Pretoria on Thursday night, give some insight into why the government is taking the spread of the global pandemic in the country so seriously.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster during an address to the nation on Sunday night, which saw him banning travel to several European nations as well as the US, China, South Korea and Japan. All gatherings of more than 100 people were also banned as part of stringent measures to try to curb the spread of the virus.

Read: Covid-19: Averting a national disaster

The extent of the state of disaster declaration became more tangible on Wednesday, when government gazetted numerous Disaster Management Act rules, including that all pubs, shebeens and restaurants need to close by 6pm daily.

Profiteering controls gazetted

On Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry used the act to gazette price controls to prevent coronavirus-induced price gouging of products that are flying off retail shelves, such as toilet paper, hand sanitisers, face masks, disinfectants and surgical gloves.

Mkhize’s comments on Thursday night in relation to the possible extent of the spread of the virus in SA are aligned with those made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She warned last week that up to 70% of the German population could contract the disease, and on Thursday described the outbreak as the biggest challenge Germany has faced since World War II.

Mkhize noted that only around 20% of the estimated percentage of cases in SA will be serious.

He said in a tweet that he expects the total number of confirmed cases in the country to reach 200 by Friday.

Following a meeting with religious leaders early on Thursday, Ramaphosa said the official number of cases of people with the virus had surpassed the 150 mark.

The first official case was a man from Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands who had travelled with a group of 10 people to Italy, which is now under lockdown after becoming the new global epicentre of the pandemic. The good news, however, is that South Africa’s “patient zero” has almost recovered and is set to be discharged, according KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.

Source: National Institute for Communicable Diseases

It’s been two weeks since the first coronavirus case in the country was confirmed. With the number set to top the 200 mark, most of the cases are related to people who have travelled overseas. Gauteng is now the epicentre of the pandemic in SA, followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

By late Thursday night no Covid-19 deaths had been reported in SA.

In Africa as a whole, as at March 19, more than 600 cases have been confirmed in 34 countries, according to a statement released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa regional office on Thursday. This is compared with 147 cases a week ago.

Although Africa has seen a significant increase in confirmed cases recently, the organisation noted that there are still fewer cases on the continent than in other parts of the world.

“The rapid evolution of Covid-19 in Africa is deeply worrisome and a clear signal for action,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, noted in the statement.

“But we can still change the course of this pandemic,” she added.

“Governments must draw on all of their resources and capabilities and strengthen their response. Africa can learn from the experiences of other countries, which have seen a sharp decline in Covid-19 cases through rapidly scaling up testing, isolating cases and meticulously tracking contacts.”



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Hopefully they are considering a total ban, or at least a ban on people from outside Africa, if that’s too politically unpalatable for now.

Your fear is Africa? Europe is the center!

Planet Earth is the center.

He literally said at least from “outside” Africa. That includes Europe doesn’t it?

Africa is already set for the same trajectory as Europe. Just a few weeks behind.

It won’t show up in the numbers since there aren’t enough tests done and most Africans won’t report to hospital due to costs, income loss. Then you have population density in townships and taxi systems.

The perfect storm for hyperdrive infection rates that will make Italy look like a cakewalk. And this is before the coming viral mutations.

It would be very naive to believe Europe would stay the centre, wasn’t China the ‘centre’ just over a month ago? Given Africa’s level of development and access to resources, I would say yes, be very scared for Africa.

Perfectly good headline which undoes itself with the sub heading.
Headline: Everyone is going to become millionaires
Subheading : but most will lose it all in the first week.
Media 1 Virus 0

Let’s say 70% of people get the disease. Then at least 20-40% are going to die just because we do not have enough lung ventilators (just like in Italy)

No, they will die because their systems have been weakened by Aids and TB and Diabetes. Italy have and ageing population, that is one reason why they were hit so hard.

The currant mortality rate is 3.4%. Not every one is going to need lung ventilators. The question is how healthy are you?

Not sure how they calculate the mortality rate.

Italy at present has the following statistic.

Total closed cases. (Cases with an outcome) This means recovered or death.


Recovered and discharged.




Is the mortality rate not (3405/7849) x 100 = 43%

For some reason it is calculated as a % of total cases before an outcome is reached. That means of those cases all will recover?? Cant be right.

This is going to be quite bad I think.

Careful with the statistics !! The mortality rate should be total deaths / total of those who have contracted the disease. We do not have anywhere near an accurate number of the total infected – this is because testing capacity is limited, available only to those that show advanced symptoms, and as we now know, some folks show no symptoms or very mild symptoms, and do not seek medical guidance at all.

It is possible the that number of infections is 10 times or greater, the number of diagnosed cases. This would bring mortality rates well below 1%. Chinese stats are not reliable, and Italy has certain demographic and historical factors accounting for the appalling rate there.

Not sure where mmmmm gets his figures from but cannot be correct given present stats. Any case this is pure ANC speculation and scaremongering. Nobody has died yet and patient 1 has recovered.

My poor currants.

Got from the worldometers website.

My messages has been blocked since early this morning. Maybe MW don’t want you to see the truth.

That would be 7 million people. Unimaginable.

This – HIV and TB rates in South Africa are high and the deaths from Coronavirus come from breathing issues

The biggest problem here will be education and transportation. How do you educate the majority of South Africans before they cram into a taxi?

This will definitely affect your lifestyle whether you like it or not

PS. Stay at home if you can!!!!

When Corona hit those with Aids and TB and Diabetes then we will see what happens. Well, not all of us, obviously.

This can be contained but would require 2 week complete shut down of entire population and weeding out the infected.

If not, ~2% x 60% x 60mil = 720,000 expected casualties.

Regions like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore contained the virus by preemptive travel bans, shut downs and have minimal to no community spread.

Rest of world who listened to the WHO ‘experts’ who advised not to implement travel bans, lockdown now have uncontrollable outbreaks.

This is the same WHO ‘experts’ who promoted Rob Mugabe as goodwill ambassador in 2017. So thats who is to blame.

That is a very conservative estimate. At the global average mortality rate of 4% we will be double that. With all the issues our country faces, I reckon the mortality rate for SA will (conservatively) be 6%, bringing total deaths to 2,2mil. This is staggering!

Looking at world corona statistics it is curious to see a county like Germany has very few serious cases. Korea too. However France has many.

I wonder why?

Italy we know is the older population.

Total case count is a meaningless number since they can’t test quickly enough or don’t have enough tests. Ever wonder how Italy’s cases go up about ~3000 a day. Their lab tests have maxed out.

You can take the death count / ~0.02 or so to get a rough idea of infections. Death count varies by country due to lack of tech & hospital facilities.. now imagine SA which is about 2-3 weeks away from similar situation.

Death rate also lags infection rate by 2 weeks or so.

Perhaps because their greeting conventions are very tactile, lots of handshaking and cheek pecking.

Recently, information has started to come out of Italy that will prove powerful stuff to arm those who would see Government brought to justice for wrecking the economy and blaming it on Covid-19. It has been found that 99.2% of deaths in Italy officially attributed to Covid-19 involved serious pre-existing illness. The Italian Institute of Health, from whence the data comes, cannot be sure that these deaths were not due to the underlying health conditions of the patients; indeed (via Jon Rappoport) the President of the Institute could not be sure that any death was caused by Covid-19.
The figures for coronavirus are eye-watering. But what is not clear – because the modellers did not map this – is to what extent the deaths would have happened without coronavirus.Every year more than 500,000 people die in England and Wales: factor in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the figure tops 600,000.
The coronavirus deaths will not be on top of this. Many would be within this “normal” number of expected deaths. In short, they would have died anyway.
It was a point conceded by Sir Patrick at a press conference on Thursday when he said there would be “some overlap” between coronavirus deaths and expected deaths – he just did not know how much of an overlap.

It is articles like this that creates fear in the markets , how can you even mention these rubbish comments ? Sensational reporting seems to be the drive force for this article.I suppose you are not an investor in the stock market.

@ Daandesimaal – die Rand, sent man (only those old enough will remember the song)

Unfortunately, the Minister’s comments are the truth – and based on sound statistics and mathematics. But yes, exponential growth sounds “sensational” if one is unfamiliar with the concept.

Today exactly three weeks ago, on 28 February, the USA had 63 cases. As of this morning 20 March (2AM ET), the USA has approximately 14400 cases. Do you want to take a bet on how many cases South Africa will have by 10 April, three weeks from today? If we are really, really lucky, we will have the same number of cases then as the USA has today. And very likely SA will have many more, given our socioeconomic realities.

Please don’t ignore what is happening. Self isolate and try and flatten the curve. We have been in self isolation since Monday. This is not a joke. its going to be devastating. See below:\SA had only 4700 ICU beds in 2009. A typical ratio of ventilators to ICU beds could be about 1:3. Optimistically say more now and with special efforts to stop elective surgery to free beds. Say optimistically 2350 ventilators. Say five percent of corona sick need them. Then that means we have max capacity to help a population of 47 000 infected. After that anyone in the 5% who needs ICU will not get one.

To predict what the next weeks are going to look like:
(And this is only the confirmed cases: Actual cases could be 10x more)
I will daily put the actual numbers next to the prediction as they emerge…

We need to act 10 days earlier that what we are seeing, because of the incubation period. The thousands we will see in 10 days from now are picking up their viruses today.

18 March: 85 cases
19 March: 110 cases (Actual: 116, quoting figures of 18th March)
20 March: 144 cases
21 March: 187 cases
22 March: 243 cases
23 March: 316 cases
24 March: 410 cases
25 march: 533 cases (This is next Wednesday)

1 April: 3344 (This is the following Wednesday – 2 weeks from today)

8 April: 20 986 (This is 3 weeks from today: Italy currently has 30 000 cases and has not been able to cope)

15 April: 131 684 [30388 new confirmed cases on this day] (This is 1 month from now)
This is 0.24% of the population of 56 000 000. [again, actual cases probably many times this]

It is harder to predict, the further down the line you go, but if it were to continue, if no-one practiced social distancing, it could look like this:
29 April: 5 184 894 [1 196 514 new confirmed cases on this day] (This is 6 weeks from now)
This is 9.25% of the population of 56 000 000

About 5% of confirmed positive patients die. That means by 15 April (1 month from now), about 6584 possible deaths in South Africa. By 6 weeks, possible 260 000 deaths.

In Helderberg on 15 April, when the South Africa is getting 30 388 new cases per day and 0.24% of the South Africa has been infected, then of the 350 000 people in the Helderberg, 840 (0.24%) will be confirmed cases and 194 new confirmed infections will happen that day. Of these 194 new cases per day, 10 new people (5%) will need ventilators per day. Each person will need to be ventilated for at least 2 weeks.

At this point you can be assured, that if you need a ventilator, you will not get one. You will die.

It is harder to predict, the further down the line you go, but if it were to continue, if no-one practiced social distancing, it could look like this:
In Helderberg on 29 April when South Africa is getting 1 196 514 new cases per day, then of the 350 000 people in the Helderberg, 32 375 (9.25%) will be confirmed cases and 7471 new cases will be confirmed that day. Of these 7471 new cases per day, 373 new people (5%) will need ventilators per day.

If you need a ventilator, you will not get one. You will die.

We have roughly 18 ventilators in Somerset West. This can be temporarily increased a little.

The lack of cases we are seeing now is an illusion. Testing and tracing contacts has not, up to now, stopped the 30% per day increase in numbers. The numbers are actually higher with many undetected cases in the community.

The only hope is to act early:

– Give your domestic worker and gardener 6 weeks of paid leave, now, today. Educate them before you send them off.

– If you have something that you need to do in the next 6 weeks, do it now, today. Then start with social distancing (see attached). There are two routes of transmission – droplets from someone within 2 meters of you, and touching infected surfaces. So any social gathering should have people 2 meters away to be safe, with surfaces kept scrupulously disinfected. Otherwise, people should stay home as much as possible. Don’t meet with people.

@ imho
Good data and good advice re self-isolation. But you seem to have travelled back in time two days, to Wednesday 18 March. Or copy and paste perhaps.

Just a debatable question. Why has no other country in the world reached your projections though they have been in your time frame. And please none of the obvious self isolating points.

I think a small portion of the population will die not because of AIDS, TB, not enough lung machines but because we only have about 5000 ICU beds. The serious ones will stay at home and die as they would have no where to go. We’ll also run out of testing kits. Or rather are running out.

There are 2 reasons why I am not worried about the Corona virus:

1. The ANC can break anything.
2. SARS (the tax pests, not the illness) won’t let me die.

I’m no good at math, statistics, calculus, perhaps just barely there on simple arithmatic, my spelling probably struggles too.

I am however a realist and a conspiracy theorist.

So 90 or 180 days later, where the Minister of Health, gets on his soapbox, he will look back and boast about how well they managed or contained a virus that would have had 60%plus of us infected. Good for his political career. Well done!!

Similarly the volatility and panic in markets, although justified, might be simply aggravated by hedge funds with a keen sense of profitable trading, super-profiting on the fear and mayhem.

Globally the covid-19 deathtoll now reached 10 000.

Annually however, 17m die from coronary disease, 8m to 9m from cancer. Globally.

Not sure how many will have died in the normal course, without covid-19, in the same December to March period of 2018/2019.

My plea is not that we ignore the risk and lick door handles, dumbells and urinals.

My plea is merely that those in charge focus on keeping all calm and safe by reporting reality in context.

You don’t need to be good at math.

However, wiping out 2%+ of the population has a dramatic economic cost on households, business, social stability. Your tourism income also evaporates to zero.

And then when the virus mutates and becomes stronger you get waves new infections that bring the economy to it’s knees.

And don’t forget the government is already insolvent, a healthcare system already chocked and ~50% unemployed to begin with. If left unchecked COVID potentially will be the nail in the coffin for you family and society.

What a moron statement to make…So basically government is going to do nothing, and over a million will die…

Once again, proudly brought to you by the ANC!

Based on analysis of what happened on the Diamond Princess its highly unlikely that you can just extrapolate the spread exponentially into the total population.Analysis by reputable scientists.

The source of the virus on the ship was in the kitchen and specifically 15 people in the food preparation section. Then you have central air conditioning. Probably everyone on board was exposed. Of the 3600 odd people on board, only 712 contracted the virus and of those 691 in the the first two weeks and then it flattened out.

It seems from studies that the same figures are applicable for Wuhan.

As of March 17 the average age of those who have died in Italy was 79.5 years and almost 100% of them had pre-conditions and most at least three.

Australia is testing a combination of Malaria and HIV medication so perhaps those on HIV meds may actually be protected?

USA is now busy implementing a treatment based on Hydroxychloroquine and another off the shelf med which in clinical trials has shown to be 100% effective in killing the virus within 6 days. Another trial in USA from Stanford achieved 90% success with a slightly different combination but still using Chloroquine.

There is hope!!

We need less hysteria and more objectivity and to protect the really vulnerable.

Covid-19: What does it mean for shopping malls? When are the companies going to be responsible and close the non-essential areas of the malls?

One thing is certain: the ANC is going to milk the CCPVirus for everything it is worth.

Between 290 000 and 650 000 people die yearly due to flu. Swine flu killed 203 000 people in 2009. Only time will tell what the effect of Covid-19 will be.

Would be good to see progress on bringing mine hospitals back on stream (as previously reported). Also ramping up additional capacity – for example every convention centre will be empty for the next few months – why not start now with beds etc. in each? Doubtful we will get the required ventilators unless we can get them from another country on a different part of the curve – but of the severe cases some need ventilators and many need oxygen. Can we progress provision of oxygen and related meds?
Also not clear if 15-20% of ALL cases are severe and then if you have comorbidities or are old are much less likely to survive the severe form. Or is it the elderly and those with comorbidities that are much more likely to become severe in the first place. If the former, the impact for SA could be much more severe.

You don’t make statements like this to the public.

MW, do you have a backup of moderators?

if THEY die, us self-isolators could get cut-off from the rest of the commenting-world … … …

Instead of creating fear and panic in the pooulation this article should have tackled ways and means of keeping the virus at bay informing the public as it did that no price gouging would be acceptable and any other measures which are positive. Stats as to how many people are going to be infected and how many are going to die serve no purpose unless the aim is to create more economic crisis and panic.As for the many comments from the profits of doom I say zip it. Your calculations are not required, rather keep yourself, loved ones and employees safe and employed if at all possible.
Come up with positives. Just remember that ‘the future is not ours to see.’ Use your spray, stay at home and beat the odds.This from a pensioner and cancer survivor.

The 6pm restaurant rule is not very clever. Many South Africans, especially people in the lower earner category make their living working in that industry. By all means stress the importance of good health but those in positions of authority must understand that to cut off the livelihood of those people without any savings is not going to help the situation. How will they purchase food and if they cannot make a living their mental and physical health will deteriorate making them more susceptible to illness. The worlds leaders are not addressing this aspect very well. America will print money but we cannot. Certain of the solutions, like hygiene is universal. Certain other solutions are very different because in South Africa and many other countries the state just does not have the financial means at their disposal.

In the end … its us vs a virus.

if we continue the way we do … the virus will win.
take a look at italy … it doesnt look good at all… they continued to live their lives as normal … social meetings etc … they doomed … the stats are not looking good.

I think the government is trying to limit the interactions and social meetings which is a good thing.
A bit of sacrifice for now will have bigger rewards at the end.

Stop thinking short term gains!

I am not thinking short term gains I am thinking how do we avoid people becoming more burdened with debt. Even if there is a moratorium on payments the interest will accrue. Very few people can work from home when it comes to numbers.

Just stop please extrapolating tested cases vs deaths as a real mortality rate. IT WILL BE NO WHERE NEAR THAT, MUCH MUCH LOWER!!! Diamond Princess was mentioned today i mentioned it as well, a great test study because very reliable Japanese data.

Also someone mentioned cases vs deaths. People get tested for 2 reasons, they are forced to or they genuinely feel crap enough to go and get tested. Far far more people are testing negative than testing positive. This will increase but again remember that people infected that will never get tested is 15-20 times greater than those that will – why? Because that is how it works in the real world with a cold – this crack fueled media hype aside. Fact a lot of people will be totally asymptomatic but will still be spreading it, others will barely have a runny nose or a tickle in their throat and then 3 days later nothing – all cases of Covid 19 but never tested. In the UK they have 3000+ i think cases but experts believe the actual infections far exceed 100k maybe even 200k+ – (in WUHAN they believe although 81k cases reported over 1 million may have been infected) already but those people never knew or the disease never breached their personal discomfort thresh hold to go and get tested. Multiply the cases reported by 20 then divide by deaths and mortality is much closer to normal flu.

WHO is about as useful as tits on a bull, i mean this in the nicest possible way. They are a giant bureaucratic political tool serving their masters at the UN, who answer to no one, head office in Brussels like the EU who answer to no one. All unelected and do you honestly think there are not agendas behind their statistics, they unfortunately have groupies (Media) so willing to report news and fact check later if ever. The most apocalyptic stories get prime space, God forbid you write a balanced article your job i think will be gone.

We have had bird flu, swine flu, SARS, MERS – then my favourite MAD COW DISEASE in the UK which by very credible experts was getting ready to kill 350,000 people a year in the UK alone reported as if gospel in several rags like the Daily Mail and their cohorts – since then 14 people died and since 2011 only 2 more. For some reason this one seems to have been selected to blow up and create panic – look for reasons, there are many to blow this 100 times out of realistic proportions. the EU is a failed experiment with 15 Trillion in negative bonds that can never be sold, the Euro was on the brink of collapse and still will. Germany and that wonder woman Matte Merkel, has announced full blown banishment of austerity for Germany and the whole of Europe (anything and everything will be done) unprecedented steps that could never be taken … blocked by their own rules if it were not for the current manufactured war time footing. So ironic that this or a fraction of the generosity was not afforded to Greece while the EU flexed their muscles back in 2015 – for a while Merkel was the anti Christ, then she opened her arms unilaterally to 5 million migrants without consulting the other 26 member states to score brownie points after her Greek train wreck.

Anyway my point here – the ministers comments are idiotic and create fear, that is exactly what he wants what his cohorts want. It is amazing what humans will accept and give up in a blind panic. Has the government not been trying to get their paws on our R6 trillion pensions funds – well guess what they will shortly have the public begging them to access that – they will give token compensation maybe even R1k payouts monthly, but the lion share will go into bailing out SOEs … no one will argue or even try and block them, lest they want to get stoned to death. It will be announced as being done for the benefit of the public which for sure needs massive help now with these middle age draconian measures in place all over this mad world. But it will be taken way too far, the pension funds will be obliterated and they will not be challenged, all the pipe dreams and massive debts can and will be kicked a little further down the road, we might even see a V shaped recovery. I am cynical but look at what they doing all over the world why would we not do it here – we needed it and it was being floated around as a real solution long before this Covid 19 WWZ arrived on the scene.

I will re-iterate that yes this is certainly a problem but not what the media would have you believe no where even close. we have what 500 cases, how many are severe now and how many on respirators? Far more on respirators for flu and TB at the moment.

currently 84 people a day on average are dying if we divide the total dead as of this morning of Covid 19 – 2400 a day die of the flu every day. In 1968 flu season the reported flu figures were 3100 a day i think, but Africa and Asia back then were supplying only fractions of the dead due to no technology etc it was estimated after closer to 10-11,000 a day were dying, we did not switch off the world then, why now.

Shield the elderly in a huge drive but keep the economy open. Believe me in RSA and Africa a few months with economy turned off, they do not have the capacities of USA/ EU/ UK/ JAPAN/ CHINA to print trillions. Growth will implode across the continent, unemployment will explode and massive famine will result. Deaths per day will be multiple times that of the Covid 19 virus could ever have attained, even in the most ghoulish of media panic stations predictions.

Act now think later – Ouch. But none of the politicians and most civil servants will be protected so they care not.

Who knows, if the driving forces behind this get what they want sooner than later – or if the global public tolerance of this starts to look like it will become unmanageable – watch how quickly good news will pop up, scape goats will be targeted or some genius with a cure injection or anti virals … but they forget one thing confidence in governments globally will have been further eroded by more lies and we will be closer to that line in the sand of not taking future garbage. Your heads up will come from a mass flood by the smart money into private big money assets like the DOW and USD, when that starts to happen – PASOP. It is happening already a little but i am talking much more aggressive and explosive moves up in the months ahead and year or 2 ahead. Even trashed commodities will have their day in the sun. People will rather park their money in a pile of iron ore than a government bond (did i hear pandemic bonds now worthless) controlled by the worlds herds of ultra honest non corrupt politicians yes?

Amen. Could not have said it better. Political leaders are actually being followers as nobody wants to be different. Smaller economies cannot absorb this approach.

End of comments.




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