by Michelle Ashburner
All main media outlets are reporting that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation this week as the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa continues to rise, all threatening the coming of a second wave.
Watching the report by Leanne Manas on Youtube this morning, she confirmed that Ramaphosa is seriously concerned about the rise in the confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Manas reported that Ramaphosa says it is long overdue for him to address the nation, and the media is speculating that it could be as soon as sometime this week.
The latest statistics show that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 715,868, a rise of 1,622 from the day before.
What is of concern is that the average number of new daily cases was 1,219 between 25 September and 1 October.
The trend of the increase to 1,706 between 16 and 22 October is what is raising concern among government officials, most outspoken at this stage seems to be Kwa-Zulu Premier, Sihle Zikalala. He warned that unless behaviors changed to help decrease the number of COVID cases, a hard lockdown was the next step. He also said that the second wave of COVID-19 will be “stronger and deadlier” – not only in deaths but also in terms of economic hardship.
Zikalala urged the hospitality industry and big business to adhere to level one lockdown regulations.“There is no use in chasing profits today, only to be shut down by a hard lockdown tomorrow,” he said.
It is apparent that the recurring opinion among health and other officials is the “reckless trading in alcohol” that has the “potential to derail all the progress we have made in preparing our healthcare system for a potential onslaught of COVID-19”.
During interviews with the general public across several media platforms, it seems that South Africans in the main are in agreement with adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols rather than returning to a hard lockdown. The question that is still begging for an answer is why is the number of cases now climbing?
In another interview, Free State health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said that “People have dropped their guard. They have stopped wearing masks with integrity.”
Rampant confusion about whether a mask is effective or not, whether or not the other protocols, including lockdown, is effective is still a subject of debate worldwide. Here are a few things to consider:
- The handwashing and sanitizing have slowed down the spread of COVID-19, even the annual flu numbers are down (could they be disguised by COVID?) In the face of that, those simple protocols are going a long way to help.
- Wearing a mask, particularly now with the summer sun making it even more uncomfortable, is a barrier and any barrier is better than none, particularly around sneezing and other droplet-spreading activities.
- South Africa cannot go through another hard lockdown, economically it could put us in a more tenuous state, making recovery for the average business and Joe Soap almost impossible.
While all this is happening, and political agendas are playing out countrywide, it doesn’t change the fact that I would hate to be in the hot seat right now. It’s a case of damned if you don’t and shipwrecked if you do. Ultimately, this is in the hands of Joe and Jane Soap. If rules and protocols are followed, there can be no excuse to send us back into a hard lockdown. As the scientists are saying, in time the entire world will have had it, and herd immunity will have kicked in. Hundreds of years worth of pandemic history seem to back them up. What do you think? Let us know at email@example.com