The African country, officially the most affected by the coronavirus and which carried out a vast campaign of tests from the first wave, has recorded more than 140,000 additional deaths since May 2020, according to the South African Council for Medical Research. The country’s leading private medical insurance company, Discovery, estimates that around 90% of these deaths are attributable to Covid-19, or 120,000 deaths. However, according to official statistics, South Africa has recorded only 48,500 deaths linked to the coronavirus, for about 1.5 million cases. Underestimated figures, according to Discovery statistician Emile Steep.
As of February 16, 2021: more than 3,700,000 cases of #COVID19 in Africa – with more than 3,300,000 associated healings and 98,000 deaths reported.
– WHO Africa (@OMS_Afrique) February 16, 2021
The statistician estimates that the mortality linked to Covid-19 is around 0.4% in South Africa. Assuming that 120,000 people have succumbed to it, that would mean that more than 30 million people have been infected, he calculates. Or about half of the population. This estimate is consistent with an antibody study, which finds that between 32% and 63% of South Africans have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic. The presence of antibodies in the blood can detect whether a person has been infected with a virus even after recovery. This study published last week by the South African National Blood Service was conducted on a panel of 5,000 donors in just four provinces of the country.
South Africa is going through a second wave of coronavirus, largely caused by a local variant, known to be more contagious. Recently, the curves have bent, the number of new cases falling to around 2,000 per day, against more than 20,000 at the end of December. The country launched its immunization campaign on Wednesday February 17, with vaccines from US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. The first vaccinations are intended for 1.2 million health workers.