3C's to Prevent Another Hard Lockdown in SA

Covid-19 infections in South Africa are still steadily rising and its citizens are advised to keep adhering to prevention protocols, such as wearing a face mask in public spaces, washing of hands regularly and social distancing, to mitigate the spread of the virus and avoid another hard lockdown. 

Professor Shabir Madhi of the School of Pathology at Witwatersrand University says that South Africa is seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 infections and blames it on complacency regarding prevention protocols. 

"The main reason for this resurgence is because of complacency creeping in with regard to the behaviour of people in particular the wearing of face masks, avoiding overcrowded settings especially in closed, poorly ventilated areas and not maintaining physical distancing."

-Professor Shabir Madhi of the School of Pathology at Witwatersrand University

He further explains that South Africa will not avoid resurgences if people are not adhering to non-pharmaceutical interventions. 

The citizens of South Africa could be seen as "pandemic fatigued" which occurs when people get tired of the pandemic measures and become less likely to follow public health practices or completely ignore those messages. Professor Madhi explains that the complacency stems from people not perceiving the virus as a threat because the number of deaths and hospital occupancy was being reported as improving all the time. 

"That is a misinterpretation in that, that sort of scenario is not going to persist unless South Africans play their part in terms of ensuring that the virus does not start spreading rapidly again."

- Professor Shabir Madhi of the School of Pathology at Witwatersrand University

"The virus is going to be with us, this virus is not going away. It's going to come in waves there is going to be resurgences but all of that is largely dictated, as is also the case in Europe, it's largely dictated by the behaviour of the citizens of the country."

-Professor Shabir Madhi of the School of Pathology at Witwatersrand University

Professor Madhi raises the concern that resurgences are not being identified in real time as infections reported this week may be infections that took place at least 2-4 weeks ago. The number of tests being conducted is said to be inadequate and this contributes to the issue as well. 

Since the last report, South Africa's total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 735 906, with an increase of 1731 new cases.

To date, the number of tests conducted now stands at 4 963 174, with 22 455 new tests being conducted.

Regrettably, the number of COVID-19 related deaths has risen to 19 789.

However, so have the recoveries, which now stands at 678 738. This translates to a recovery rate of 92%. 

Premier Alan Winde cautions South Africans to look to the spike of the virus happening in Europe currently and says:

"We have always said that Germany had been outstanding at managing Covid-19, and rightly so they have done an amazing job - but now it's just gone into lockdown."

-Alan Winde, Premier - Western Cape Government

"The last thing we need is another lockdown. The last thing we need is the closing down of businesses. We need to be opening our economy. We need to be saving those jobs that were lost."

-Alan Winde, Premier - Western Cape Government

He advocates the 3 Cs to help combat Covid-19 spread:

  • Congestion: Avoid congested places and crowds
  • Close proximity: Maintain physical distance from others
  • Closed spaces: Avoid being indoors in closed areas where possible

"I will argue as hard as I can against any further lockdown, but you do it by showing the data."

-Alan Winde, Premier - Western Cape Government

Professor Madhi, however says that there is close to zero value in terms of going back to a hard lockdown. 

"It's not going to achieve anything different, medically and in terms of controlling the epidemic relative to people actually adhering to these recommendations in terms of how to reduce rate of infection,"

-Professor Shabir Madhi of the School of Pathology at Witwatersrand University 

  

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