Pulmonologist expecting to see COVID-19 cases rise after Easter break

It's been predicted that the Easter holidays could fuel the infection rate.

Patients are seen lying on hospital beds inside a temporary ward dedicated to the treatment of possible COVID-19 coronavirus patients at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on 11 January 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

CAPE TOWN - The feared third COVID-19 wave has not yet hit South Africa.

It's been predicted that the Easter holidays could fuel the infection rate.

Government has implemented stricter lockdown measures in an effort to prevent super-spreader events that could trigger a third wave.

According to the latest data, more than 700 new cases have been picked up and eight more COVID-19-related deaths have brought the official death toll to almost 53,000.

The second COVID-19 wave hit South Africa hard over during the festive season.

By the end of December, on average, more than 23,000 new daily cases were being recorded.

On Saturday, 777 new cases were confirmed.

Pulmonologist Dr Dante Plekker said that this was an improvement.

"Our active cases have actually remained very stable over the last few weeks at around 20,000 to 25,000, between 500 and 1,000 new cases a day, but luckily our recovery rate is staying around 95% to 96%, which i think is really quite excellent and positive to me."

But Plekker warned that it did not mean that we were out of the woods.

"In the next week or two, a lot of people have been traveling over Easter and maybe been attending large family or church gatherings and if you look at the incubation period of the infection being about a week or 10 days, we should start seeing an increase in numbers in a week's time."

Whether that will lead to another wave remains to be seen.

Plekker said that the pace of vaccinations should be speeded up.

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