Is South Africa’s Second Wave Over?

Epicentre News • 09 Feb 2021

Over the December holiday we experienced massive increases in both testing and in positives.

At our Hillcrest centre our testing rose from 50 tests to 250 tests per day; with days of above 300 tests not being uncommon.

In the graph below you can see visits to our testing website increase suddenly in December and peak only to drop off mid-February.

This can also be clearly seen in the graph below which reflects the number of orders we had on our website. Please note that this is just the online orders and does not reflect the sheer scale of walk ins we tested nationally.


It could also be said that testing whilst slowed down dramatically has not reached the low numbers we were experiencing before the second wave. This is consistent with data from Caprisa which provides evidence that the new strain circulating is 50% more contagious. This would increase the number of infections between waves.

We also went from finding 3-4 positives a day to over 65 on average. Our results ladies described dealing with pages of incoming positives cases. Informing positive cases could also be highly stressful as they never knew what their reactions could be, as some people would laugh whilst others reacted with extreme anger.

Those at the office attributed the sharp increase to the Matric Rage in Ballito, but the sharp drop could be due to a variety of causes, government intervention, end of holiday season, less travel or due to the high cost of laboratory testing.

However, this is not the end as according to Prof Salim Abdool Karim — co-chair of government’s ministerial advisory committee (MAC), “if a third wave of Covid-19 strikes, South Africans should brace for it to land at the beginning of winter”.