‘Gauteng is over the worst’: Protest-fuelled Covid-19 spike unlikely, says Prof Madhi

26 July 2021 - 14:14 By iavan pijoos
Gauteng is over the worst of the third wave, says Wits University professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi. File photo.
Gauteng is over the worst of the third wave, says Wits University professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi. File photo.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/SEBABATSO MOSAMO

An increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths after the violent protests and looting two weeks ago is unlikely to happen in Gauteng.

“Before the protests started, we had already seen a peak in community cases and the highest percentage were already affected,” Wits University professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi told TimesLIVE on Monday.

“Gauteng is over the worst, so we should start seeing a decrease in the number of deaths taking place.

“It is unlikely for an increase again any time soon. The prediction would be that it would continue to decrease day by day. Johannesburg is pretty much in a downward trajectory now.”  

Madhi said pressure on facilities had also showed a decrease.

Vuyo Mabindisa, who owns a funeral parlour in Soweto, said they had witnessed a decrease in burials.

Mabindisa said two weeks ago they were doing more than 20 funerals a day, but that number had since decreased to between 16 and 18.

During the unrest, looters made off with at least 50 coffins, worth an estimated R300,000, when Mabindisa’s funeral parlour was targeted. And it was difficult to obtain more coffins, he said. Mabindisa said now that the N3 from Durban to Gauteng was open, they could get more.

Though only four of the 37 cemeteries in the city are open for new grave sites, Johannesburg City Parks spokesperson Reggie Moloi said there was more than enough space.

He said the third wave had been devastating, with the number of burials tripling from May to July.

“We are already at 4,000 burials for July alone. It is more than June, because in that month we had 3,500 burials. We have been very busy.”

Moloi said they were seeing at least 59 to 68 burials a day.

Madhi, however, warned that KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape may see a spike in cases in the next two weeks.  

TimesLIVE


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