Monday, 14 December 2020 14:14

How to check the areas in South Africa most vulnerable to Covid-19.

Staff Reporter.

Stats SA has launched an online dashboard called the South African Covid-19 Vulnerability Index, which tracks the areas in the country likely to be most susceptible to the coronavirus.

The dashboard was developed as a way to track the vulnerability at a local level across the country, using the smallest population data available, combined with known risk factors associated with Covid-19.

The index uses Census 2011 data, along with eight indicators related to labour force activity, access to media, household services, overcrowding, multigenerational status, age and chronic illness to reflect the vulnerability status of citizens to the Covid-19 virus and where these individuals are located.

"Covid-19 disproportionately affects the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, and the population at risk includes those exposed to increased health and social vulnerability, "Stats SA said.

These vulnerabilities are present across the data, and include those who:

  • Are poor or live in deprived conditions which impacts on health and sanitation;
  • Live in crowded areas or informal settlements which impacts on social distancing; and
  • Live in multi-generational households and large extended families in a single dwelling.

"The index aims to identify these populations that are at multiple risk to identify areas where the population are considered most vulnerable to Covid-19," StatsSA said.

Using these metrics, Stats SA has compiled a 'Vulnerability Index score', which is calculated as the headcount of vulnerable people in a region multiplied by the intensity (the number of vulnerabilities they share).

The final score is expressed on a scaled ranking from 0 to 5, with 5 being the most vulnerable, and 0 the least.

Stats SA said that the use of Census 2011 data allows for the index to be mapped to the smallest possible area, i.e. an enumeration area (EA), which is the smallest geographical area into which the country is divided for Census purposes and contains between 100 to 250 households.

Nine provincial dashboards were developed, and the index can be queried at place name and municipality level.