In an instant, South Africa found itself in unchartered waters. The COVID-19 pandemic embedding itself into our country, resulting in a nationwide lockdown which has lasted for nearly seven months.
The question to ask is; with the easing of the regulations, are South Africans becoming complacent and can we expect a second wave?
It would appear the country experiencing a second wave is inevitable. This is according to both the health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19.
On 19 October 2020, Dr Mkhize discussed the possibility of SA experiencing a second wave in the foreseeable future.
He explained, “We still have the challenge that we might be facing a second surge.” This he adds is important to note, especially when looking at other countries which are overtaking SA in the number of cases, are all on their second wave.
Furthermore, he emphasised that while SA experienced fewer coronavirus cases than expected when moving down to Level 1, now was not the time for people to let their guard down. This is important to note, as Dr Mhize assured we will not be spared if we don’t follow the necessary steps to contain the virus.
Speaking on SAfm on 19 October 2020—Professor Karim, an epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist, pointed out people were becoming lax, tired of wearing masks and implementing social distancing.
He believes it is vital for people to change their mindset when looking at the virus, especially when considering people visiting taverns and nightclubs.
This follows events across the country resulting in the virus going viral—including an incident in Cape Town, where over 80 people were infected. Additionally, a large number of students tested positive for COVID-19 at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape, following a two-night drinking spree earlier this month.
Amidst the fears of a second surge hitting SA, Dr Mkhize stresses that as a country, we’ve made significant strides in our fight against this pandemic. He adds, “Let us not dare regress. Whatever we do and wherever we go, we have to keep in mind that there remains a risk of a second wave.”
With the prospect of a major resurgence of COVID-19 looming over our heads, it is vital we adhere to the regulations which were pumped into our minds in the first two months of the pandemic. These are:
- Wear your facemask in public
- Sanatise and wash your hands on a regular basis
- Maintain social distancing
By following these simple steps, we can help combat COVID-19.