CRA Health & Wellbeing – South Africa

By Bernice Maune

Globally, SA has been considered an anomaly for the impact Covid has had on the country’s population. Together with the rest of the 56 countries on the continent, medical experts and scientists forecast that the virus would quickly infect the poor communities, leading to a high death rate.

However, while SA has the highest infections on the continent at over 600,000, the government’s early lockdown which has lasted for six months and alcohol ban has been used as reasons why the country has fared better than Europe and Asia.

In analysing SA, Ian Hamilton, an associate professor of addiction at the University of York, told The Independent communities have been previously exposed to coronaviruses, especially in crowded townships like Alexandra in Johannesburg and Khayelitsha in Cape Town. This exposure has resulted in immunity, lessening the impact and fatality of Covid.

However, the country’s alcohol ban which was put in place in March, maybe the answer to SA’s Covid miracle.

“The ban on alcohol in South Africa freed up scarce health resources as fewer road traffic accidents occurred and alcohol-related admissions to hospital also fell significantly. Reducing consumption will also have protected individuals from Covid as we know alcohol compromises immunity,” said Hamilton.

The academic further explains that an early lockdown and strict rules such as the tobacco ban and curfew may have helped SA’s case in fighting the pandemic.

“What is clear is that early predictions of the catastrophic effect of Covid on Africa including South Africa haven’t materialised. Indeed, the reverse appears to have happened: it is Europe that has experienced mass infection and high levels of mortality.

“Perhaps some of these predictions were based on the dangerous and erroneous view that we in the UK were better prepared and somehow more able to deal with a pandemic. But now as we have more data and an improved understanding of how this disease works not only is this information challenging scientific knowledge but also the differing approach and response of various governments. Despite the assertions of our government, it seems it is South Africa that is world-leading, certainly in comparison to the UK’s death toll,” said Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Dr Zweli Mkhize, minister of health also believes there are myriad factors which have protected South Africans from the high death rates seen in the UK and Italy. Mkhize said climate and the younger population is likely to have sheltered the country.

On Twitter, Mkhize cautiously wrote: “Today, we cautiously but optimistically breathe a sigh of relief as we continue to see our detected cases, hospital admissions, deaths and even excess deaths declining.

“Our recovery rate is now almost at 90% and our mortality rate has remained stable at around 2%.”

Article Credit To Biz News.