SA hits 101,000 Covid-19 cases as deaths approach 2,000

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South Africa passed another grim Covid-19 milestone on Monday, as it surpassed the 100,000 mark for confirmed infections. This is less than three months since the first recorded death.

There were also a further 61 Covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 1,991.

However, according to Prof Salim Abdool Karim, a leading clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist and government adviser, this was “more or less” where experts predicted it would be in its fight against the pandemic.

SA recorded its first confirmed case on March 5, when a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife tested positive. Less than a month later, on March 27, two deaths were reported – the first fatalities from the respiratory illness.

Since then, with the Western Cape as the epicentre, SA had recorded 1,991 deaths and 101,590 confirmed cases of the illness, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Monday night.

The climb to 100,000 cases has been dramatic.

On June 1, SA had 34,357 cases. By Sunday, just three weeks later, this had increased to 97,302 cases – and then increased by 4,289 cases to the 101,590 announced by Mkhize on Monday night.

The last time fewer than 2,000 new cases were reported over a 24-hour period was on June 3, and the last time fewer than 1,000 cases were reported in a single 24-hour period was on May 26.

In fact, just once in the last 10 days has SA had fewer than 3,000 new cases. That was on June 16, when 2,801 new cases were announced.

The three days with the biggest number of new infections were:

  • June 20 – 4,966 new cases; followed by
  • June 21 – 4,621 cases; and
  • June 14 – 4,302 cases.

The deadliest days were:

  • June 19 – 94 deaths;
  • June 15 – 88 deaths; and
  • June 8 and 9 – 82 deaths each.

However, Abdool Karim said the situation in SA was as expected.