COVID-19 second wave

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COVID-19: Here’s how likely each province is to face a ‘second wave’

Could a second wave of mass COVID-19 infections hit your province? The numbers have been crunched, and these results are eye-opening.

COVID-19 second wave

Photo: Unsplash

The threat of COVID-19 has not left South Africa, and it’ll be with us for some time to come. Government officials have bemoaned the ‘complacency’ displayed by some members of the public during Level 1 of lockdown, and the latest data released by Wits University shows that the chances of a second wave hitting this country are very real indeed.

Latest COVID-19 cases and death toll for South Africa

On Sunday, the Health Department confirmed that 2 270 cases were registered over the most recent 24-hour period. For the first time in months, daily case numbers breached the 3 000-mark on Saturday. The numbers are almost certainly going in the wrong direction, as the death toll from coronavirus now stands at 20 903.

Will South Africa get a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus?

Cabinet’s scientific advisors are not too worried by these trends. Professor Salim Abdool Karim says that South Africa is not experiencing a second wave at the moment, and national data is being driven by ‘local super-spreader events’.

However, that does not mean the rest of us are off the hook. New research has assessed the probability of a second wave hitting each of South Africa’s nine provinces. Now, here comes the scientific part – there’s an index used to calculate risk levels:

“This index quantifies the deviation of the data from the hypothesis of a single wave. It gives a measure of the risk for a second wave. Where the Risk Index is greater than 10, the risk for a second wave becomes statistically compelling. The 7.5 and 10 risk indexes correspond to medium and high risk, respectively.”

COVID-19 numbers: Which provinces are most at-risk of a second wave?

  • Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, and the Northern Cape remain at a ‘lower-risk‘ of encountering a second wave. However, in the former two provinces, the chances of a resurgence have risen in the past few weeks.
  • North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga are currently rated at ‘mid-to-high risk‘ for a second wave. The latter province is still showing signs of cases increasing – which would take Mpumalanga to the next level on the index.
  • The Western Cape is ‘the second-most at-risk province‘ in the country, as cases have soared in hot-spots along the Garden Route. However, in the past week, the threat of a second wave has decreased.
  • The Eastern Cape is the only province rated above and beyond the ‘high-risk‘ threshold. Scoring a mammoth 23.9 on the index, this number is three times higher than the initial figure which would spark concern amongst officials.