Saturday, 22 January 2022 20:31

Covid-19 Daily Update: SA records 3 049 new cases with 9.2% positivity rate.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 3 049 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 579 428. 

This increase represents a 9.2% positivity rate. 

Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported. Today, the NDoH reports 114 deaths and of these, 13 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 94 063 to date.

Meanwhile South Africa is likely to enter the fifth wave of Covid-19 infections in May or sooner. 

This is according to health minister Joe Phaahla, who warned that a new variant could see the country entering a fifth wave sooner than expected.

Phaahla said the fifth wave could be worsened by cold weather and the flu season.   

"If there is no variant of serious concern very soon, we definitely would expect a wave somewhere around May, when winter starts. That’s when people start to congregate indoors because of the cold. That’s also when flu season starts," he said. 

"We expect possibly the middle to end of May, that’s when we expect the next wave. It might come earlier, like we saw last year."

Phaahla’s statement comes a few days after epidemiologist Prof Salim-Abdool Karim said the worst of the variants could be over. He said future variants could continue to evolve and spread faster but cause less severe disease.

"What we are likely to see with future variants is that to displace Omicron it’s going to have to be able to spread even faster. Based on what we can see, we can expect that future variants, to beat Omicron, would have to in all likelihood be less severe," he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and SA-born health technologies billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong officially opened a vaccine manufacturing facility in Brackenfell, Western Cape this week.

The facility, NantSA, is aimed at producing jabs to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

According to Ramaphosa, the state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing facility is part of a broader initiative to propel Africa into a new era of health science.