S. Africa Virus Cases Begin to Rise as Fourth Wave Predicted
South African coronavirus cases are beginning to climb, the positivity rate of tests is increasing and an analysis of wastewater shows that the disease is once again becoming more prevalent in some areas.
On Nov. 20, the number of confirmed cases over a 24-hour period rose to 887, the highest since Oct. 14, and on Nov. 21, 3.4% of tests returned a positive result, according to government data. If maintained over a seven-day period, that would be the highest proportion of people testing positive since the week ended Sept. 26.
The rise in cases comes days after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that the incidence of Covid-19 was increasing in wastewater samples of some areas of Gauteng, the most populous province. South African Medical Research Council data show that excess deaths, the number of deaths over an historical average, have been rising in recent weeks.
There has been a rise in the number of people testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in the Tshwane municipal area that includes the capital Pretoria, the NICD said in a later statement on Monday.
“Localized increases in case numbers (clusters) are not unexpected,” Adrian Puren, the NICD’s acting executive director said in the statement. “However, it is hard to say whether the increases indicate the start of a widespread resurgence.”
Scientists working with the government have predicted that a fourth wave of coronavirus infections could begin in December. Still, they said it will likely be less severe than previous resurgences because about a third of South African adults are fully vaccinated and between 60% and 70% of the population may have already been infected.
The number of confirmed daily infections peaked at almost 20,000 in July, during the third and most severe wave the country has experienced.
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