COVID-19 new variant

The data for 16/05/2022 is favourable for Mzansi – Image via Unsplash

Time to move on? Top expert declares COVID pandemic ‘OVER in SA’

Wits Professor Shabir Madhi has gone public with his view that the ‘pandemic stage’ of COVID-19 is now finished in Mzansi – here’s why…

COVID-19 new variant

The data for 16/05/2022 is favourable for Mzansi – Image via Unsplash

It’s been a long, difficult two years for us all. The twin impacts of the COVID pandemic and its associated lockdowns have been utterly devastating. South Africa has endured its fair share of suffering, but some 24 months after the first case of the virus was identified on our shores, it seems the ordeal is now coming to a conclusion.

COVID pandemic ‘declared over’ by leading virus expert

That’s according to Wits Professor Shabir Madhi, anyway. The virology expert has explained this week how SA has transitioned into its ‘recovery phase’ of COVID-19, declaring an end to the pandemic as we know it.

A mix of vaccine-induced and naturally-acquired immunity has helped push the seroprevalence levels of the general public up to substantial heights. Recent studies show that over 85% of Gauteng’s city residents have the antibodies needed to fight off COVID-19 infections. For Madhi, that means the game has changed.

  • Interestingly enough, the professor also believes no new variant would be capable of evading our ‘T-Cell responses’.

“The findings indicate that South Africa is moving into the convalescent phase of the COVID pandemic. Another resurgence is likely, and there might well be another variant. But it would be very surprising if further variants are able to evade the T-cell arm of the immune system which is stimulated by vaccines and natural infection.”

“The T-cell (cell mediated immunity) arm of the immune system, appears to be the main mediator of protecting against severe COVID-19, even when there are breakthrough infections in vaccinated people or reinfections.”

Shabir Madhi

South Africa ‘at the end of virus war’ – Shabir Madhi

Just 3% of all COVID pandemic deaths recorded in South Africa occurred during the Omicron wave. Only 10% of all recorded virus hospitalisations happened during the fourth wave. This data, Madhi says, is very encouraging.

As outlined by the renowned scientist, coronavirus cases can now be managed through the use of ‘annual boosters’, and the focus must now shift towards ‘rebuilding livelihoods and economies’.

  • The State of Disaster is set to expire on 15 March – a decision which is comprehensively backed by the science:

“If it’s about the number of deaths that will transpire from COVID-19 during 2022, relative to the number of deaths that will transpire from other preventable causes of death in countries such as South Africa, then I believe the country has pretty much arrived towards the end of this pandemic.”

“We might need boosters on an annual basis for the next 2-3 years, especially for high risk individuals. Our findings support the optimism expressed at the beginning of 2022 in SA that a turning point had been reached in the pandemic. It’s time to rebuild livelihoods and all other facets of life that were affected over the past two years.”

Shabir Madhi