In recent weeks, South Africa has seen an increase of nearly 60 percent in the number of natural deaths. Specialists, therefore, suspect that the number of corona deaths is much higher than the official statistics indicate.
The South African medical research board SAMRC released a report on Wednesday showing that numbers have risen continuously in recent weeks. “As of the second week of July, there were 59 percent more deaths from natural causes than one would expect based on historical data.”
The Department of Health announced a daily total of 572 Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday. According to Professor Debbie Bradshaw, the author of the report, there is a large gap between confirmed corona deaths and excess mortality.
Top five worldwide
South Africa is the hardest-hit country on the African continent and is in the top five countries with the most confirmed cases worldwide. Just under 395,000 infections and 5,940 deaths have been recorded to date.
The first contamination was diagnosed on March 5 in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal. In late March, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a strict lockdown that allowed every resident, except workers in essential professions, to leave the house only to buy food or medicine. Besides, the sale of alcohol and cigarettes was curtailed.
In May, the lockdown slowly eased again, which experts say has caused the surge in corona infections. “We had to find a balance between saving lives and protecting everyone’s livelihoods,” President Ramaphosa defended the decision.
Most corona victims have so far been in the provinces of Western Cape (2,752), Eastern Cape (1,345) and Gauteng (1,156).