With South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown expected to delay the peak infection rate until September 2020, thereby lessening the strain on the country’s healthcare system during the cold winter months, medical experts have highlighted seven primary concerns which are to be handled as a priority.
On Monday evening, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was joined in consultation by the Ministerial Advisory Group on COVID-19. The data and overall presentation — dealing with aspects of the global versus local spread and a detailed analysis of the lockdown’s impact on flattening the curve — was prepared by Salim Abdool Karim.
COVID-19 in South Africa and the effectiveness of lockdown
Karim, a highly-regarded epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist, noted that while the lockdown has afforded South Africa the opportunity to slow the virus’ infection rate and prepare medical facilities accordingly, the country cannot escape the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The worst case scenario, as described by Karim, is a rapid increase in local transmissions, which then spurs exponential growth of the curve. Luckily, data presented by Karim shows that the number of local, or community, transmissions were limited during stage one and two of the outbreak.
Quite simply, if community transmission is low, then the rate of infection drops dramatically and the caseload lowers. If community transmissions begin to increase, then exponential growth of the curve begins again.