Image: Western Cape Government Health.

SA’s Covid-19 outbreak could have peaked in July

CAPE TOWN- The downward turn of Covid-19 deaths in South Africa is a positive sign that the virus may have peaked in all the provinces by the end of July, according to the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). 

The Council’s Burden of Disease Research Unit regularly publishes the Report on Weekly Deaths in the country and based on the deaths registered on the National Population Register, this week’s report shows the epidemic is on a downward trajectory.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the SAMRC said to calculate ‘excess mortality’ the research team looks at the number of people who had died over a certain period compared to the number we would have expected to have died. 

Although this data does not have information about the medical cause of death, it remains invaluable as it provides a near real-time count of the total numbers of deaths from natural and unnatural causes.  

Figure: The South African Medical Research Council


Chief Specialist Scientist from the SAMRC, Prof Debbie Bradshaw, said the epidemic has different trajectories in the provinces. 

“The Western Cape, the first province to experience community spread, stands out as having a much slower epidemic. It took several weeks to set in and is now taking time to recede. In contrast, the epidemics in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had much quicker increases. We still urge South Africans to continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, hand hygiene and avoid crowds and congestion.”

SAMRC President and CEO, Prof Glenda Gray, said, “we continue to urge our doctors to ensure accurate completion of death certificates especially if it is Covid-19 related, as it will be important in understanding the true impact of the epidemic,”. 

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