No indication yet that elections led to increase in COVID cases - NICD

Experts have presented a set of potential fourth wave scenarios, based on different assumptions and drivers, and its impact on COVID-19 hospital admissions.

Residents queue to cast their votes in the local government elections in Thembalethu, George on 1 November 2021. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - There's no indication at this stage whether the local government elections impacted the COVID-19 pandemic's trajectory.

Based on certain assumptions and pandemic drivers, the South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium on Wednesday presented scenarios of possible trends that the coronavirus pandemic could follow in the weeks to come.

The presentation looked at how the possible coronavirus variants and vaccinations may impact a fourth wave of the pandemic.

Experts have presented a set of potential fourth wave scenarios, based on different assumptions and drivers, and its impact on COVID-19 hospital admissions.

National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD) epidemiologist, Doctor Harry Moultrie, said that to date there was no sign that the elections caused a rise in coronavirus case numbers.

"We haven't seen any strong signals, certainly not of any widespread level, of any increase in cases that we would attribute to an increase in transmission through either the elections or perhaps more recently, religious festivals," Dr Moultrie said.

In one scenario, UCT’s Modelling and Simulation Hub Africa director, Dr Sheetal Silal, said that if behaviour had changed early this month in the absence of a new variant, their model projects an increase in hospital admissions in the coming months in all provinces apart from the Northern Cape.

"The peak in admission in these scenarios are projected to be considerably smaller than what was seen in previous waves," Dr Silal said.

Silal said that it was impossible to predict the timing of the emergence or characteristics of a new coronavirus variant of concern.