Western Cape Covid-19 deaths 'fewer than 10 a day' by end-September: Panda

Part of the Cape Town International Convention Centre was converted into a temporary hospital for Covid-19 patients. Western Cape head of health Dr Keith Cloete said there were now more hospital beds available due to a gradual easing in hospitalisations. File photo.
Part of the Cape Town International Convention Centre was converted into a temporary hospital for Covid-19 patients. Western Cape head of health Dr Keith Cloete said there were now more hospital beds available due to a gradual easing in hospitalisations. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

Experts monitoring the coronavirus pandemic on Friday predicted Covid-19 deaths would decline to fewer than 10 a day by the end of September in the Western Cape.

“We hit the peak [in the province] on June 24 at a level of 52 deaths a day, and since then it’s been gradually declining ,” Piet Streicher of Pandemic Data and Analytics (Panda) said during a radio interview on CapeTalk.

Panda is comprises a voluntary group of actuaries, economists, data scientists, statisticians, medical professionals, lawyers, engineers and business people who have been analysing the human cost of the pandemic in SA.

The Western Cape was initially considered to be the country's epicentre of the pandemic, but health authorities are now cautiously optimistic it has passed its peak of infections.

Streicher said being the initial epicentre was an advantage going forward.

“There is actually an advantage to get through it first. That means the pandemic will be over for us before all the other provinces.

“We can already say the Western Cape will have fewer than 10 deaths a day by the end  of September. That’s looking really promising. It means we will be able to get back to normal sooner, and have a better chance of opening industries so all people can work again.”

Provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete said this week that available data indicated the province reached its peak at the end of June and start of July.

He said there were more hospital beds available due to a gradual easing in hospitalisations, TimesLIVE reported on Thursday.

“In the public and private sectors of critical care there has been a recent decline. They have more capacity now over the past two to three weeks, rather than going up.”

Asked about the Western Cape balancing the risk of opening the economy versus the risk of infection, Streicher told CapeTalk: “Our risk from an economic point of view is now much higher than from Covid-19. People need to be able to work to earn a living, to feed themselves.”

Western Cape premier Alan Winde on Thursday welcomed the easing of some lockdown restrictions.

“We welcome the announcements by tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, allowing for intra-provincial leisure accommodation and extending the curfew to 10pm, allowing restaurants to trade later,” he said in a statement.

“The alert level three restrictions have placed extreme pressure on some of the leading job creating sectors in the Western Cape, including the tourism and hospitality sector. As a province, we believe t if we do not support businesses and allow them to reopen safely, we will face a second, equally serious, unemployment pandemic.”

TimesLIVE


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