Health officials worried about burden of overlapping COVID waves on hospitals

The country is battling to shake off the Delta driven third wave which is still gripping the Western and Northern Cape with positivity rates around 30%.

FILE: Health Minister Joe Phaahla. Picture: Picture: @HealthZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Health officials are worried that hospitals will be overburdened by two COVID-19 waves overlapping later this year if the third wave continues to drag on.

The country is battling to shake off the Delta driven third wave, which is still gripping the Western and Northern Cape, with positivity rates around 30%.

Scientists predict that the fourth wave might may hit South Africa by November.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the fourth wave was likely to be driven by a new variant, which meant if the third wave was not over by then, it would have huge implications for health workers.

“Which will mean that our health facilities and our health workers would not have had much rest. So, this is something that is worrying.”

Phaahla said the third wave was dragging on for much longer than the first and the second wave of infections.

The average COVID-19 positivity rate is still very high averaging between 19% and 20%.

According to the World Health Organization's standards, it must be around 5% for a country to say that the infection rate is stabilising.

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