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Covid-19: Scientist says SA's sixth wave expected soon, but will likely be 'mild'

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Covid-19: Scientist says SA's sixth wave expected soon, but will likely be 'mild'

Covid-19 vaccination

31st August 2022

By: News24Wire

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If the Covid-19 infection trajectory follows previous patterns, South Africa may have a sixth wave in the next few weeks.  

Professor Barry Schoub, a virologist, says the next wave may happen in September or October. 

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"We just don't know when the next wave will be. If we go by the previous cycles, the next wave always happens after about three months. The last wave was in June, so, going by that, the next wave should be in October," he said.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases' (NICD) weekly epidemiology brief on the respiratory disease, 1 435 new cases were reported last week. This is a 10.9% decrease from the week before.

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In the past week, Gauteng reported the highest weekly incidence risk, with 3.6 cases per 100 000 people. It was followed by the Western Cape, with 2.4 cases per 100 000 people.

"In the past week, six of the nine provinces reported a decrease in weekly incidence risk. The decrease ranged from 0.3 cases per 100 000 persons (7.7% decrease) in Gauteng, to 1.0 cases per 100 000 persons (28.9% decrease) in the Western Cape.

"Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape reported a slight increase in the weekly incidence, ranging from a 0.1 to 0.4 increase in cases per 100 000 persons, respectively," the NICD said.

Schoub says that, if the wave happens, it is likely to be mild.

"The probability will be mild because we are used to the virus. It's a bit of a guess," he said.

South Africa experienced a mild fifth wave, which ended in June. The rates of vaccination and immunity explained the mild caseload, health experts said at the time.   

Schoub advised that, while the previous wave was mild, people still needed to be up to date with their vaccinations.  

"There is Covid now, but getting a vaccine means you are better prepared when the rate of infection increases. Protect yourself with a vaccine. In terms of wearing a mask, do it when you are indoors and there isn't enough ventilation."

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