511,485 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 8,366

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of cases of 511,485 coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 8,195 cases from the 503,290 infections reported previously.

The data shows that there are 213 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 8,366 casualties, following 148 deaths reported on Saturday.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 347,227 recoveries to date.

A total of 3.04 million million tests have been conducted, with 34,794 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 2 August 2020, 17.8 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including approximately 685,000 deaths.

There’s no evidence that hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug frequently touted by President Donald Trump, is an effective treatment for Covid-19, a member of the White House coronavirus task force said, as reported by Bloomberg.

“There’s been five randomized control, placebo controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine,” Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We need to move on from that and talk about what is effective,” said Giroir, mentioning public hygiene measures like hand-washing and mask-wearing, as well as treatments like steroids and the drug remdesivir and “promising” progress in vaccine developments.

“Most physicians and prescribers are evidence-based and they’re not influenced by whatever is on Twitter or anything else,” Giroir added.

Home struggles

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that while South African hospitals had so far managed to cope with the infection, there have been some struggles, particularly in the Eastern Cape.

He said that more needed to be done to prepare capacity, and he called on South Africans to do their part by maintaining vigilant and practising all preventative measures.

“Over the past few months, we have undertaken an unprecedented mobilisation of resources to prepare our country for the inevitable increase in cases.

“In every province, hospitals were reorganised and readied to manage an influx of patients. Government provided training for health personnel, distributed large quantities of personal protective equipment and put in place systems to monitor outbreaks and respond quickly,” he said.

The president noted that field hospitals have been constructed across the country, including in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Pietermaritzburg.

“These facilities continue to be essential in providing adequate care to those who need it.

“In certain cases, these efforts were not enough. Several public hospitals in the Eastern Cape were overwhelmed as infections rose in the province, and a specialist team has been deployed to address this challenge,” he said.

In other provinces hard-hit by the epidemic, including the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the health system has so far had sufficient capacity to cope with the number of admission, however, more needed to be done.

“Additional facilities, equipment and personnel are being deployed in provinces still experiencing an increase in infections.”

The president said that while there are promising signs, now is not the time to let down our guard. “We have to continue to work together to reduce the number of new infections,” he said.

“As with many other countries across the world, we need to continually adjust the measures we take to prevent new outbreaks or to safeguard our health system. We have already seen, for example, that the suspension of alcohol sales has significantly reduced the trauma cases in our health facilities.

“While these changes can be disruptive to people’s lives and to the economy, it is necessary that we adapt to the changing path of the disease.”

Read: Signs of Covid-19 daily infections stabilising – Ramaphosa

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511,485 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 8,366