South Africa: Govt Projections On Local COVID-19 Fatalities Questioned By Private Research Group

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Figures being used by the government to help prepare for the Covid-19 onslaught on the health system, estimate that around 40,000 people in South Africa could die of the disease by the end of November 2020. But a private sector research group is adamant that these projections are far too high - and is calling for greater transparency in the calculations used.

A private sector research group called Panda (Pandemic Data Analysis) has strongly questioned predictions as to South Africa's Covid-19 fatalities that were made by modelling advisors to government.

On Tuesday, 2 June, Panda released an open letter to Professor Juliet Pulliam of the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (Sacema) calling for the models used to arrive at Covid-19 death projections to be made public.

The letter, signed by Panda coordinator and actuary Nick Hudson, describes estimates of South African Covid-19 deaths in the 40,000-range as "outlandish".

These estimates were presented at a modelling symposium held on 21 May 2020, coordinated by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. At the meeting, Pulliam gave the projections on behalf of the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium (SACMC), which is made up of infectious disease modelling experts from Pulliam's unit Sacema,...

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