Gauteng not at the peak of Covid-19 infections yet, says health MEC

Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku.
Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku.
Image: Alaister Russel/Sunday Times

Gauteng has not reached its Covid-19 infections peak yet.

This is according to  provincial health MEC Bandile Masuku, who said that although Gauteng was recording high numbers of positive cases, the storm has not yet arrived. Gauteng, officially the epicentre of the virus, is recording at least 5,000 cases a day.

Since the beginning of July, Gauteng has moved from 45,944 to 112,714 cases by yesterday. However, the province is expected to peak between mid-August and early-September, where the number of cases are expected to jump to over 400,000. “We are about to reach the peak, we have not yet got there,” Masuku said in a webinar organised by the Daily Maverick.

Gauteng also has the highest number of active cases, having recorded only 45,743 recoveries. Masuku, however, said that many of the people who are positive exhibit “mild to no symptoms”, which resulted in low hospitalisation. “We were expecting the rise, we were expecting the surge. Gauteng was expected to have numbers,” Masuku said. “Twenty five percent of South Africa’s population is here [and] Gauteng also has a large number of densely populated areas.”

He said that the high number of cases was expected as a lot of people lived in Gauteng as an economic hub which is also a highly mobile province. “It was an expected rise, the thing that didn’t happen as expected was that we would become the first province to peak,” he said.

Masuku earlier this week told SowetanLIVE that they were “anxious but comfortable” with the looming infections storm. Masuku was adamant that the province would be able to adequately assist those needing medical care and hospitalisation. His confidence was fuelled by the additional number of hospital beds being added by the province, including those in the six field hospitals in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.

“[We are] comfortable but anxious. I think we should say that in a very clear way that it’s just how we respond everyday on what we have on the ground,” Masuku said.

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