It has been predicted that by mid-July, South Africa could reach a new milestone with over 408 000 coronavirus cases and as many as 7 440 deaths. On Wednesday, June 24 South Africa recorded a total of 111 796 cases. The Western Cape leads with the highest number of infection, followed by Gauteng. The virus has claimed 2205 lives in the country thus far.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) published projections by the South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium (SACMC) on June 12, which indicate we are about to hit the peak of the virus in the Western Cape.

“The purpose of this report is to project estimated COVID-19 cases at national and provincial levels for the next 4 weeks. A mathematical model was used to simulate the transmission of local and imported COVID-19 cases based on data regarding laboratory confirmed infections until 5 June 2020 using parameter estimates jointly agreed upon by the SA COVID-19 Modelling Consortium,” read the report.

An interesting find is that not all active cases requires healthcare. The report suggests that 75% of infections are asymptomatic and would not need to be tested. And 96% of symptomatic cases are expected to be mildly sick. This means that although there are many infections in South Africa, this large number does not place a big burden on our healthcare system.

“The model projects that if testing patterns remain unchanged there may be more than 408 000 detected cases by mid-July. However, prioritisation of testing may result in a reduction in detected cases to approximately 133 000,” continues the report. “The cumulative number of deaths by mid-July is expected to be 7,440 (3,610 – 14,000). ICU and hospital bed numbers are to be interpreted with caution as use of hospital beds are influenced by treatment practices, and admission to ICU is likely to be subject to criteria that change through time and as a function of resources available.”

The tables project testing and ICU beds needed for the Western Cape when we hit our peak.

The model further projected that the biggest concern is the demand for ICU beds, which is likely to exceed available ICU beds in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape during the month of June. This includes the extra capacity made available in the form of temporary hospitals in the Western Cape.

The SACMC has urged individuals to exercise caution when interpreting the projections as information changes every day.

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