In a webinar to outline post-pandemic viewpoints as the country paddles through the Covid-19 pandemic, Professor Salim Abdool Karim noted the positive trends showing an improvement in how the pandemic was being managed by the country.
Karim’s remarks, however, noted that the pandemic may not be the last pandemic to hit the world as more pandemics or virus were a possibility going into the future. The trick was to monitor, surveil and prepare for future outcomes.
The professor also warned against any complacency saying the possibility of a second wave of infections could not be ruled off the cards.
Abdool’s warning comes after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize conceded that the country was turning the corner, with a decline in the daily infection rate, with hospitals no longer overwhelmed by patient numbers.
He did however also caution against a possible second wave of the pandemic. The second wave caution has also been noted by Dr Jantjie Taljaard, from the Tygerberg Hospital who warned against using the term “second wave.”
A second increase in numbers would be possible considering the decreased awareness of infections alongside the shift into lessor restrictive lockdown levels.
“One can obviously expect that there will be a second increase in numbers due to decreased awareness of infection control and opening up of social and economic restrictions.
“But the chances that those numbers will be higher than the initial peak are very slim. I don’t think we will have a worse situation during the so-called second wave, or any other wave than might occur over time.”
Mkhize has warned against what he described as “response fatigue” to the pandemic saying citizens needed to change their behaviour towards the pandemic by adhering to safety measures, such as wearing masks, social distancing and the use of hand sanitisers.
The department of health has noted new data signalling that daily infection rates in the Gauteng region, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape was slowing down, although the real test would be on citizen behaviour, according to Mkhize.
Although the country appeared to be on the winning front, with containment measures bearing fruit, Dri Harnan Zaldiva who was part of an envoy of doctors from Cuba, who descended into the country to help combat the pandemic stressed that lifting the lockdown, possed a risk to a ‘possible second wave of infections’ which could be worse.