It’s the news many of us didn’t want to hear, but have long suspected. A leading COVID-19 expert in South Africa has told the public that the devastating third wave of infections – mainly taking place in Gauteng – is likely being driven by cases of the Delta variant. The mutation, first discovered in India, is much more transmissible than other strains.
‘Delta variant’ said to be tearing through Gauteng
Although no known variants can prevent vaccines from working efficiently, they can slightly lower the effectiveness of these inoculations. The UK is one of the best-vaccinated countries in the world, but after the Delta variant became dominant, cases have soared in Blighty. Thankfully, deaths and hospitalisations remain low.
But sadly, this isn’t a luxury SA can rely on. Only a tiny percentage of our fellow citizens have been FULLY immunised via the jabs, and without vaccine protection, South Africa finds itself in a grim position – something that Professor Shabir Madhi, director of the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytical Research Unit at Wits University, is keen to stress.
Leading analyst calls for an end to ‘group gatherings’
Professor Madhi told eNCA on Friday that the Delta variant is one of the most probable causes of this runaway surge, and he revealed that official data supporting this viewpoint will be released ‘within the next week’. The senior expert has also urged people to stop mingling in groups, and he also took a dig at the EFF for their antics yesterday.
“What we’re currently experiencing is probably the seeding of the new [Delta] variant coupled with the small waning of immunity. We are expecting data from the NICD next week to confirm that there’s been a surge of Delta variant cases. But importantly, individuals that have been previously infected will still remain protected against severe disease.”
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re ten or fifty people — in a poorly ventilated space those ten or fifty people are going to contribute to hundreds of other infections… particularly if they’re not wearing face masks. The EFF mass gathering on Friday can be seen as a super-spreader. Management of mass gatherings is probably [our] single most effective tool.”
Professor Shabir Madhi