South Africa seems to have passed the peak of the fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, with data showing that infections were far more muted than previous waves, say economists at the Bureau for Economic Research (BER).
As a result, and also because of high natural immunity and slowly rising rates of vaccination, hospitalisations and deaths were also more subdued, the group said in a research note on Monday (30 May).
“This is in line with our baseline view that future waves should be much less severe than especially the Delta wave in mid-2021,” it said.
The Department of Health also confirmed this week that 50% of South African adults are now vaccinated. While this is a key landmark for the country, it is still well below the original two-thirds target that was expected by December 2021.
Private hospital group Mediclinic is bullish that the worst of the Covid pandemic is largely behind the country, with normal hospital activity expected to resume in South Africa over the coming year.
Presenting its annual results on Wednesday (25 May), the group noted that based on the most recent trends and expectations, Covid-19-related cases are expected to recede further in the coming months, leading to an increase in more normalised client activity and fewer direct Covid-19-related costs.
Medclinic’s prognosis follows a similar assessment made by hospital group Netcare in its results presentation this week. The signs are positive that South Africa has passed the worst of the Covid pandemic, the group said in its interim results report on Monday (23 May).
“The new Omicron sub-variants (BA.4 and BA.5) that have recently emerged are currently driving an increase in Covid-19 positive cases in South Africa. While the impact of these sub-variants appears to be mild thus far, reflected in relatively low hospitalisation and lower mortality, it may weigh on patient sentiment and could affect activity in the short term.
“In addition, the possibility of further waves of Covid-19 does exist. However, in the absence of a new highly transmissible and virulent variant of the virus, and against the background of increasing levels of immunity from natural infection and vaccination, there may be a reduction in the severity of such potential waves should the serial mutation of the Omicron variant continue.”
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