THE BIG STORY: It’s up to us now

It’s official: SA is in the midst of a Covid-19 second wave.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on Wednesday night, after a number of super-spreader events caused an exponential growth in cases.

SA recorded over 6000 new cases on Wednesday – a number not seen since August. Mkhize said the majority of new cases were from the Western Cape (30%), Eastern Cape (24%), KwaZulu Natal (23%) and Gauteng (17%).

The rise in cases in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal is “exponential”, he said.

But this wave is a little different from the first one: the peak age of those infected is between 15 and 19. Mkhize said this is because of a “large number of parties” where young people are drinking booze, not wearing masks or practising social distancing. This has led to super-spreader events, Mkhize said. Because most of these cases are asymptomatic, and young people tend to move around a lot, you can expect infections stemming from them to spread pretty quickly.

We don’t know whether the country will face new restrictions now – but judging from Mkhize’s statement, if it were up to him, parties and large gatherings would be severely limited this December.

We’re waiting on news from President Cyril Ramaphosa about the next steps. It’s worth noting that many people who previously wanted the government to stop imposing harsh restrictions are now calling for it to impose those same restrictions. It may be too late to prevent a second wave now, but it’s up to us to make sure it claims as few lives as possible. 

This story was originally published in The Wrap here.

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