LISTEN | We're well into second Covid-19 wave, confirms Zweli Mkhize as cases spike

Health minister announced on Wednesday that there were 6,079 new Covid-19 cases reported over the past 24 hours

09 December 2020 - 20:00 By kgaugelo masweneng
Experts say the rapid and exponential increase in infections in different provinces indicates that people need to take more precautions to avoid getting sick.
Experts say the rapid and exponential increase in infections in different provinces indicates that people need to take more precautions to avoid getting sick.
Image: 123RF / maridav

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday that SA is now in its second wave of Covid-19 infections, with 6,079 new cases reported in the latest 24-hour cycle.

He was speaking after a Covid-19 oversight visit to the Eastern Cape on Wednesday. Mkhize said his team of scientists and modelling experts have concluded that the rapid and exponential increase in different provinces indicates that more caution should be taken to combat the virus.

Listen to what he had to say: 

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“Four provinces — Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng — are key drivers of the new wave. It is important to highlight that today we have breached 6,000 in terms of new cases in a single day, with today's total new cases numbering 6,709. This takes the total to 828,598 cumulative cases,” he said.

Mkhize said 135 new Covid-19 related deaths were reported on Wednesday, with 104 of them from the Eastern Cape (56) and the Western Cape (48). The others were in the Free State (15), Gauteng (16), and KwaZulu-Natal (seven).

This means that 22,574 deaths linked to the virus have now been confirmed.

Up to the past week, Mkhize said, the increases in cases were mainly in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, and the rise was in specific districts, he said. However, the wave has now spread to other areas.

“Six provinces are affected. The majority of the new cases are from the Western Cape at  30%, the Eastern Cape at 24%, KZN on 23% and Gauteng on 17%.

“These together indicate that we are into the second wave,” Mkhize added.

The Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 1% of the new cases and the Northern Cape for less than 1%.

Mkhize said that the recent cases confirmed the age distribution pattern was different. The peak age of new cases was in the 15-19 age group — a group that was “highly mobile” and thus could spread the virus fast.

“This is believed to be due to large number of parties involving young people drinking alcohol with no adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions, that is wearing masks, social distancing and hand and surface sanitising.

“This inevitably leads to superspreader events, which spill over into the rest of the country as this age group is highly mobile and the majority of the carriers are asymptomatic. If this trajectory continues, our health-care system will be overwhelmed by the numbers,” he added.

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