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Northern exposure tiny, but it's a Cape of carnage south of the border

29 May 2020 - 18:39 By Dave Chambers
Covid-19 has woven a dramatic tale of two provinces in the west of SA.
Covid-19 has woven a dramatic tale of two provinces in the west of SA.
Image: 123rf/sirinapa

The Western Cape and Northern Cape share a lengthy border but their experience of Covid-19 is worlds apart.

How Covid-19 had affected each province by May 23 2020.
How Covid-19 had affected each province by May 23 2020.
Image: NICD

The stark difference was illustrated on Friday in the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) weekly report on the progression of the pandemic across SA.

It showed the Western Cape — the worst-affected province — had 368 times more infections than its sparsely populated northern neighbour in the week ending May 23.

Even when the infection rate is adjusted for population, the Western Cape had 240 times more infections. It had conducted 14 times more tests per 100,000 residents than the Northern Cape, which is SA’s least-affected province.

On Friday, Covid-19 infections in the Western Cape increased by 1,064 cases (6.16%) to 18,350. Deaths increased by 34 to 437 and recoveries were up by 673 to 9,830.

Per capita incidence of Covid-19 for the week ending May 23 2020.
Per capita incidence of Covid-19 for the week ending May 23 2020.
Image: NICD

The NICD report said the population group most at risk of testing positive for Covid-19 was women aged 40-44, where there were more than twice as many confirmed cases as the average.

How the number of tests increased between the start of the pandemic in March and May 23 2020.
How the number of tests increased between the start of the pandemic in March and May 23 2020.
Image: NICD

Information on the race profile of Covid-19 patients has been sparse, but an earlier NICD report which looked at 1,031 hospitalised patients said 61% were black, 18% coloured, 14% white and 7% Indian.

In the overall population of 58.8-million, 80.7% are black, 8.8% coloured, 7.9% white and 2.6% Indian, according to the latest Stats SA figures. 


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