On average, more COVID-19 patients dying now than in first wave - CSIR

Deaths were showing an alarming increase of 45% week-on-week and figures had doubled over the past two weeks.

Open graves at a cemetery in Hebron, north of Pretoria, South Africa, ahead of the funeral of a person who died from COVID-19 complications. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - On average, more COVID-19 patients were dying in South Africa now than at the peak of the first wave.

Over the past week, there's been an average of 19,000 new cases every day.

The country was dealing with over 192,000 active cases as it battled a third wave, with Gauteng accounting for more than 50% of the caseload.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)'s Dr Ridhwaan Suliman said that the daily average of new cases had risen by 28% week-on-week.

"That average is now set to surpass the peak that we saw in the second wave. The number of hospital admissions across the country and new hospital admissions are just over 9,500 the previous week."

Deaths were also showing an alarming increase of 45% week-on-week and figures had doubled over the past two weeks.

"Concerningly we're reporting 240 deaths per day on average over the past week. The number of deaths have now surpassed what we saw at the peak of the first wave and unfortunately will continue to rise following the increase in infections that we have been seeing."

Suliman said that the focus remained on ensuring that the country had sufficient resources to deal with the influx of patients at hospitals.

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