Prof Gray urges South Africans to take COVID-19 seriously

Professor Glenda Gray, who serves on the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, on Monday said the death rate related to the virus was hard to predict at this stage. But infections were expected to increase rapidly.

Emergency paramedics wearing a full COVID-19 coronavirus personal protective equipment (PPE) transfer an empty gurney to an ambulance at the Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, on 10 July 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - With South Africa’s COVID-19 infection rate one of the highest in the world, South Africans have been cautioned not to underestimate the impact of the coronavirus and to take it seriously.

Professor Glenda Gray, who serves on the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, on Monday said that the death rate related to the virus was hard to predict at this stage. But infections were expected to increase rapidly.

Government called on South Africans to adhere to regulations in order to stop the spread of the virus.

Gray said that she was concerned about the rate of testing in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

South Africa now has the fifth-highest number of infections in the world.

“And a lot of countries are not testing enough and it’s very hard for us to understand what their levels are,” Gray said.

She said that predicting how many people could die was not easy.

“It’s very hard to predict how many deaths will happen because the natural history of this disease in Africa has not been determined yet,” she said.

Gray said that the COVID-29 pandemic would not stop spreading until people adhered to the lockdown regulations.

Meanwhile, Gray said that the coronavirus was spreading fast because it was a multi-organ virus. She said that scientists across the world needed to consider this in their research for developing a vaccine.

A number of countries are currently conducting trials to develop a vaccine. This included Oxford University which announced on Monday that it had made progress with a vaccine.

Gray said that COVID-19 was a unique virus that scientists were still trying to understand. She said that some people got heart or kidney failure after contracting the disease.

Gray said that the development of a vaccine would take time. And with infections growing rapidly, she reiterated that social distancing and the wearing of masks was the best way to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

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