SA sees spike in COVID-19 cases raising concerns of possible fifth wave

New rise in infections represent a 16.7% positivity rate with Gauteng leading the increase.

South Africa has seen a significant spike in COVID-19 cases, increasing fears that the country is on the verge of experiencing the fifth wave of infections. This comes after the government recorded over 3,000 new cases in a 24-hour period on Monday, April 25th with a peak of more than 4,000 cases just four days previously. This new increase represents a 16.7% positivity rate with majority of the new cases from Gauteng (54%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (25%). Western Cape accounted for 10% and Mpumalanga for 3%. Eastern Cape, Free State and North West each accounted for 2% and Limpopo and Northern Cape for 1% each. With many cases of the virus going undiagnosed, the positivity rate is seen as an indication of how quickly the disease is spreading.

According to Professor Adrian Puren the head of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), it is not clear yet whether the currently dominating Omicron variant BA2 is being replaced by a different subvariant. Adding that, “The public should exercise caution in interpreting these data as there may be changes in test patterns. An early warning indicator, wastewater detection surveillance, shows an increase in Gauteng.” The spike in infections is also not entirely unexpected, as both the government and the private sector had forecasted an increase in infections around the end of April and the beginning of May. As of April 25, 2022, the country recorded 3,762,911 COVID-19 infections of which 252,775 resulted in fatalities and 3,633,297 resulted in recovery.