South Africa’s deadly Delta wave

The number of Covid-related deaths in South Africa continues to rise – above 400 for each of the past three days, while excess deaths in the country climbed to their highest level since January.

On Wednesday (7 July), The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, reported 21,427 new Covid-19 cases in South Africa, taking the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,112,336. This increase represents a 30.3% positivity rate.

As per the National Department of Health, a further 411 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, taking total fatalities to 63,039 to date.

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (49%), followed by Western Cape (13%). Limpopo accounted for 9%; KwaZulu-Natal & North West each accounted for 8% respectively; Mpumalanga accounted for 6%; Eastern Cape & Free State each accounted for 3% respectively, and Northern Cape accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.

7-Day moving average by province

An increase of 827 hospital admissions has been reported in the past 24 hours. The following is a list of Covid-19 hospital admissions that have been reported:

Bloomberg reported that excess deaths, seen as a more precise way of measuring total fatalities from the coronavirus, rose to their highest level since January in South Africa.

In the week ended June 27, the country recorded 5,228 deaths compared with 1,729 official deaths from the virus, the South African Medical Research Council said in a report Wednesday. The number of deaths, which is measured against a historical average, was the highest since the week ending Jan. 24 and compared with 4,145 the week earlier.

Excess deaths in Gauteng rose to a second consecutive weekly pandemic-era record with the province where one in four South Africans live recording 3,224 more deaths than would normally be expected, Bloomberg said.

Still, the seven-day average shows that infections may have peaked in the province. The proportion of national daily infections from Gauteng fell below 50% on Wednesday after climbing to as high as 69% in recent weeks. That indicates that infections are now rising in other regions.

Lambda variant

While the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc across the country’s healthcare facilities, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has added a ‘Lambda’ variant, also known as C.37, as the seventh and newest “variant of interest”.

The NICD said that the Lambda variant is currently increasing in prevalence in South American and other countries, however, it stressed that this variant has not been detected in South Africa.


Read: Surging death toll fails to convince vaccine-wary South Africans

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South Africa’s deadly Delta wave