South Africa’s Covid-19 cases by age

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that South Africa has recorded a total of 27,403 Covid-19 cases as of 28 May 2020.

This is an increase of 1,466 cases over the past 24-hour recording period.

The number of Covid-19-related deaths has increased to 577, which is an increase of 25 over the last 24 hours.

The Department of Health said it has conducted 655,723 tests to date, including 20,727 since the previous report.

Recoveries to date are 14,370 – which translates to a recovery rate of 52.4%.

The Western Cape continues to be the country’s epicentre, with 17,754 reported infections (9,157 recoveries), 64.8% of the country’s total, followed by the Eastern Cape (3,306 cases vs 1,700 recoveries), and Gauteng (3,329 cases vs 1,993), at 12.1% of total reported infections each.

Data from the Department of Health  shows how the country is affected by the virus, depending on their age:

The department noted that those people aged between 60-69, accounted for 153 total deaths (26.5%), while those aged between 50-59, accounted for 144 deaths (25%).

The age bracket between 70-79 accounted for 113 deaths (19.6%), ages 80-89, accounted for 55 deaths (9.5%), while the 40-49 age bracket has seen 61 deaths, or 10.6% of the total to date.

South Africa’s largest private medical aid, Discovery recently provided some data on how its members are being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Discovery Health chief executive officer Ryan Noach, said that high risk members tend to be the elderly, and members living with chronic diseases.

He said that around 23% of total Discovery Health members that are infected with Covid-19 land up in hospital, and that around 4.5% of positive members end up in ICU. Those are people in severe respiratory distress. “We’ve had 59 of our members land up on ventilators.”

The proportion that method by age increases almost linearly in a steep trajectory, said Noach.

“From low proportions affected at the young age, to very high proportion of the people that get sick as octogenarians. In the 80 to 90 year old age group, 65% of those land up admitted to hospital.”

“There’s no doubt that age confers much higher risk for severe manifestations of Covid-19,” he said.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said that over the course of the last few weeks, the province has taken several steps to ensure our modelling and projections are of the highest possible standard.

“Fortunately, South Africa has many top scientists and we have sought to leverage these great minds. We therefore have been engaging with both the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) and the National Covid-19 Modelling Consortium, to compare our assumptions and projections for the peak of the pandemic in the Western Cape.”

The findings of these two modelling exercises have been different:

  • The ASSA model is projecting a notably higher peak in the province than the Western Cape’s initial projection (based on the available data a month ago).
  • The National Consortium model’s peak is lower than the ASSA model’s projection, but it is still higher than the Western Cape’s initial projection (based on the available data a month ago).

Winde said that a new calibrated modelling exercise has projected the following:

  • A peak towards the end of June, beginning of July 2020.
  • There will be a requirement of approximately 7,800 beds at the peak of the pandemic.
  • Cumulative deaths of approximately 9,300 people in the Western Cape.

Total active cases in the Western Cape amount to 7,726. The province has conducted 136,597 tests to date, with hospital admissions at 718 of which 157 are in ICU or high care.

South Africa is set to move to level 3 lockdown from next week, 1 June, which will see an additional 8 million people back at work.

This is likely to see an acceleration in infections as the country heads towards its projected peak between July and early September, according to the World Health Organisation.


Read: Discovery has a very different view of how South Africans can get back to work

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South Africa’s Covid-19 cases by age