Second wave in SA: Four graphs show how COVID-19 came roaring back

Zweli Mkhize didn’t sugarcoat it on Wednesday evening: South Africa is now in its second wave of COVID-19 infections, and the data to back that up makes for grim reading. The health minister made the announcement some four months after our initial peak had begun to calm. However, the trends are now heading in the wrong direction.

Latest coronavirus figures for Thursday 10 December

Mkhize revealed that Wednesday’s COVID-19 figures were the worst seen since winter, with over 6 000 new cases registered. Super-spreader events and post-matric parties have engineered an explosion in transmission, and worryingly, the test positivity rate in South Africa has almost doubled in recent weeks.

“Since the end of September we had actually seen most of our numbers coming down to as low as 1 000, but now the numbers are increasing…Today, we have breached the 6 000 mark in terms of new cases. The total new cases identified is 6 079. The peak age of infections at this period is now 15 to 19 years of age.”

“The other seriously concerning issue which I need to bring to the attention of the public, firstly is that when we were on the plateau, we had a positivity rate of 10%. As of today, the rate is at 18%. But some provinces are much higher than the 18%… 18% is now the average for the entire country. The rapid increase in KZN and Gauteng is exponential.” 

Zweli Mkhize

In data: Why SA is heading for a second wave of COVID-19

Hospitilisation data

  • The Western Cape is nearing its highest hospital numbers since June.
  • Accelerated growth in Gauteng and KZN has become a serious cause for concern
  • All major ICU and ventilated figures are increasing
ce920430 graph 4 - Second wave in SA: Four graphs show how COVID-19 came roaring back
Photo: Sugan Naidoo / NICD

Deaths rising in many provinces

  • Seven-day averages show a significant increase in fatalities for both the Eastern and Western Capes.
  • Free State’s deaths are surprisingly high, in comparison to their case numbers.
  • The worst is yet to come for KZN and Gauteng, with deaths expected to rise in the next week or two
7025c3d4 graph 1 - Second wave in SA: Four graphs show how COVID-19 came roaring back
Photo: Sugan Naidoo / NICD

Eastern Cape death figures

  • Fatalities are already close to the highest peak witnessed in August – and it’s likely to be surpassed.
  • A total of 438 deaths have been reported here in the last seven days
  • Average has gone from 30 to over 60 in the past week alone
b8936d95 graph 3 - Second wave in SA: Four graphs show how COVID-19 came roaring back
Photo: Sugan Naidoo / NICD

Daily new deaths in the Western Cape

  • Figures are at their highest level since early August
  • The mortality rates have increased by 50% in the last week
  • The rate of deaths is accelerating quicker in the second wave than it was during the initial peak of infections
5781a2f7 graph 2 - Second wave in SA: Four graphs show how COVID-19 came roaring back
Photo: Sugan Naidoo / NICD

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