Durban – While a number of European countries are reporting a second wave of new Covid-19 infections. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has said it is still unclear when SA will experience a surge in new cases.
“We are seeing second waves in European countries three to four months after their first wave. We don’t know if this will happen in South Africa, but it is possible, and even likely. Also, we know that once you get coronavirus you are not immune from it for life, and you could become re-infected in the future,” the NICD said.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that 903 new Covid-19 cases were reported in SA bringing the county’s cumulative number of confirmed cases to 672 572.
“Gauteng has 19 161 active cases, followed by the Free State with 13 588 active cases. Regrettably, we report 81 more Covid-19-related deaths: eight from the Eastern Cape, 10 from the Northern Cape, 11 from KwaZulu-Natal, 28 from Gauteng, five from Limpopo, eight from the North West, six from the Western Cape and five from the Free State bringing SA’s Covid-19 fatality count to 16 667. Our recoveries now stand at 606 520 which translates to a recovery rate of 90%,” Mkhize said.
The NICD said communities will still have to deal with the coronavirus until most people have been infected or have received a vaccine and the country has reached herd immunity.
“So until it becomes available and most people receive the vaccine, the virus still has many people it can infect,” the institute said.
The NICD said it has been six months since the implementation of the national lockdown and while many South Africans were infected, some became seriously ill and others have died, there were South Africans who developed a different condition – Coronavirus Burnout and Pandemic Fatigue.
“It is understandable as the pandemic wears on, that people are getting tired of taking precautions. It was something completely new to us to stay indoors, avoid public places, distance from the people we cared about, and not attend social and religious gatherings. It was strange to wear masks at all times and to sanitise our hands often during the day. But strange as it was, we did embrace this new reality. While some people continue to observe these precautions, many others feel they are no longer necessary and some never believed they were necessary in the first place,” the NICD said.
The NICD added that those older than 60, were overweight, unfit and had multiple medical conditions that were not well controlled, were at risk of developing severe Covid-19 and dying.
“The medical conditions that resulted in more severe sickness and death are hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney, heart and lung disease, cancer, HIV and TB,” the NICD said.
Be even more cautious if you are at high risk and prevent yourself from getting Coronavirus
Identify it early if you develop Covid-19
- Remember the most common symptoms for Covid-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, tiredness, muscle aches, congestion or runny nose, headaches, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, nausea or vomiting and diarrhoea.
- If you have any symptoms, you should test and then self-isolate while you wait for your result.
Monitor yourself closely if you develop Covid-19
- Make sure your underlying medical conditions are well controlled. Take your hypertension, diabetes and other medicines correctly and on time.
- Monitor your blood pressure and sugar. If you are diabetic it is a very good idea to get a home device to measure your sugar.
- Consider getting a pulse oximeter. This is an easy-to-use device which measures the oxygen saturation (level) in your blood and helps to identify early on when you are in need of medical attention. Oxygen saturation should always be greater than 92%
Seek medical help early
- If your symptoms are worsening or have not improved after 7 days
- If you become confused or have difficulty concentrating
- If you develop a new fever or your fever returns
- If you develop chest pain
- If you are diabetic and your sugar level is very high (>18) or very low (<3.5)
- If your breathing becomes difficult, and the number of breaths you take in one minute (respiratory rate) is more than 25
- If your oxygen level on the pulse oximeter is lower than 92%
Remember if you get very sick
- Do not go to your GP’s rooms
- Call the doctor or arrange a virtual medical consultation
- Or call an ambulance and go to the hospital