South Africa: COVID-19 in South Africa - Perspective Is Needed


Covid-19 has caused us to lose perspective on various fronts. One main front is the burden of disease. In a country in which many thousands of people die each year from treatable diseases like TB and Type 2 diabetes, an exclusive focus on the mortal impact of Covid-19, while understandable, is misplaced.

This is not another piece about the epidemiology of Covid-19 by an amateur epidemiologist, but an article about the need to place the pandemic in perspective.

A recently released estimate of possible deaths due to Covid-19 is that up to 48,000 people in South Africa may die from the pandemic by November 2020 (Kahn & Paton, 2020). At the time of writing (24 May 2020), 340,196 people worldwide have died from Covid-19 (Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center) - 407 in South Africa. This means, in the worst-case scenario (if 48,000 deaths is worst-case), that the country can anticipate a 47,900 percentage point increase in Covid-19-related deaths over a six-month period - an increase of truly epidemic proportions.

But we need to place a scenario of 48,000 possible deaths due to Covid-19 in perspective. A total of 446,544 people died in South Africa in 2017 (Statistics South Africa,...

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.