- One of the renowned doctors advising President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed his grim forecast for South Africa
- Professor Shabir Madhi says that the next two to three years will be spent dealing with the coronavirus crisis
- Madhi claims that nearly 45 000 South African fatalities are expected over this period
Professor Shabir Madhi currently heads the public health subcommittee guiding President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cabinet in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Wits University expert has shed some light on the estimates when it comes to the fallout from the situation.
Although these statistics are an improvement from earlier estimates of between 120 000 and 150 000 fatalities, the concept of nearly 45 000 citizens dying over the next two to three years is still a major cause for concern.
Madhi says that life as we know it will most likely to be on hold during the same time frame.
In a webinar on the issue, Madhi says new data has shown that up to 80 times more infections had taken place, with patients asymptomatic.
While this means that the virus is harder to trace, it does also, in turn, mean that fewer fatalities would occur than originally predicted.
Studies from the US, China and Iceland revealed that 50% of infected people are asymptomatic, meaning they show no symptoms of infection.
While fatalities rates have lowered, Madhi explained that it would still impact SA's future:
“We can’t go into perpetual periods of lockdown [but] the reality is that this is going to cause many epidemics, at least for the next two to three years. This is not a short-term crisis that is going to be sorted out in the next few months. We might see a huge upsurge in cases and at least three to four epidemics over the next few years.”
Mass gatherings will be out of the question and physical distancing will remain in place, with the way citizens engage with each other requiring more caution.
The fast-approaching winter months between May and August are expected to be the worst but the hope is that fewer people will have extreme forms of Covid-19 and 'herd immunity' would come into play. 'Herd immunity' refers to resistance to a contagious disease within a population if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.
The current lockdown would need to be 'strategically phased out' with Madhi reiterating that the elderly and citizens with pre-existing health issues would need to continue living in isolation.
Briefly.co.za reported that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize had noted 3 300 cases and 58 fatalities in South Africa.
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