Fourth wave concerns continue as South Africa sees increasing cases

South Africa sees an increase in new COVID-19 cases amid a looming fourth wave.

The country is seeing its confirmed COVID-19 cases increase, sparking concerns that the much-talked-about fourth wave is no longer far off. This as the country’s positivity rate is seen gradually increasing. Data shows the number of confirmed cases over a 24-hour period rose to 887 on the 20th of November - the highest since mid-October. Just a few days earlier, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases had highlighted that the incidence of COVID-19 in wastewater samples from some parts of Gauteng was increasing. “Localized increases in case numbers (clusters) are not unexpected,” Adrian Puren, the NICD’s acting executive director said in the statement. “However, it is hard to say whether the increases indicate the start of a widespread resurgence.”

Data from the South African Medical Research Council also show that the number of excess deaths has also been increasing in recent weeks. Experts have predicted that the country’s fourth wave of coronavirus infections could begin as early as December. Although the country is far off from its target to inoculate about 70% of the population, the upcoming wave is expected to be less severe compared to any of the three waves seen previously, with the worst being the third which saw daily cases rise to almost 20,000 back in July. It is also believed should the fourth wave hit, the country would benefit from the fact that a third of its citizens have so far been fully vaccinated. It’s also believed that up to 70% of the country’s population has likely caught the virus previously.