Day 412 of living under some form of lockdown, and the threat of a third wave here in South Africa looms.
Some experts are already talking about the need to enforce stricter lockdown measures, including limiting the size of gatherings, as two variants of concern identified in the country make predicting what comes next rather tricky.
As of yesterday, four cases of the B.1.617.2 variant (first detected in India) have been detected in Gauteng and KZN, and 11 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (first detected in the UK) in the Western Cape, KZN, and Gauteng.
Despite those uncertainties, research and modelling continue, with the COVID-19 working group of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) recently making their findings public.
According to Adam Lowe, a member of the ASSA COVID-19 working group, we are likely to experience one of three scenarios.
These are mapped out below via BusinesTech:
- An early third wave in May – An early third wave is expected to be less severe than the second wave and is most likely to materialise in May 2021. Not only does historical precedent set by the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 and 1919 support this scenario, but it is also a realistic expectation given the public holidays and school holidays in April. This is seen as the most likely scenario.
- A delayed third wave – A third wave of similar magnitude to the second wave becomes more likely the longer the peak is delayed. A more severe third wave would be likely to peak in late winter (July/August) at the earliest. This is less likely than scenario one, but not impossible.
- Worst-case scenario – A large and sudden third wave could be possible if available patterns and interpretations of patterns prove to be flawed. This scenario is seen as very unlikely.
Alright, so most likely is an early third wave arriving this month, and the Free State Department of Health has announced that the province is already experiencing theirs.
If the third wave was to be delayed, it’s likely that a larger portion of the population would see their ‘immunity’ from previous COVID-19 infections wear off, as well as the potential for mutations and variants to occur, making the effects worse.
Given that the worst-case scenario is listed as “very unlikely”, we won’t go down that route.
It’s quite incredible to think that on Monday, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland recorded no new COVID-19 deaths, whilst we’re bracing ourselves for another wave.
You can now register for a vaccine in South Africa via WhatsApp or SMS, but as for whether or no you’ll receive it in the timeframe laid out by our government is a different story.
Yesterday, Lowe also appeared on CapeTalk to chat with Bruce Whitfield about those three scenarios.
You can listen to that interview in full below:
[imagesource: Tripadvisor / Jill D] Tuesday's shark attack in Plettenberg Bay claimed ...
[imagesource: YouTube / America's Got Talent] At any given moment on America's Got Tale...
[imagesource: WWE] Vince McMahon turned WWF Wrestling, which later changed its name to ...
[imagesource: Jeremy Reper / USA TODAY Sports] Long before Tiger Woods came from out of...
[imagesource: PA Wire] As old-fashioned as a monarchy is, there are those who still sta...