COVID-19 in SA | Concern over government predictions

Many medical experts believe that the worst of South Africa's Covid-19 Omicron wave may be over. But should the country brace itself for another wave and will it be less severe? Stellenbosch University Epidemiologist Dr.Jo Barnes spoke with eNCA's Mfundo Mabalane about the prospect of another wave of COVID infections. Courtesy of #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Many medical experts believe the worst of the Omicron COVID-19 wave may be over.

The Health Department says it’s too early to predict when the fifth wave is likely to hit.

Stellenbosch University epidemiologist Dr Jo Barnes says she's concerned about government's COVID-19 predictions.

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"We see across the internet two statements have been appearing in the last couple of weeks mainly from the government and from scientists supported by the government that says variants will become milder as time goes on and COVID will become endemic. Those predictions are seismic twins," she said.

"I am a bit concerned about that. There are several gaps in that reasoning. The first is that Omicron didn't evolve directly from Delta and Delta didn’t from Beta. So in fact, Omicron is so much different that.

"People call it a deviant and not a variant. So, we can't predict that something in six-months time won’t come up in left field... I'm concerned about raising hope too soon and it not materialising.

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"The second is, "will it become endemic?

"Endemic means it will be always present at a predictable level. We can’t say that either. The politicians seem to think that endemic means it will turn into something that will help us become" business as usual" and we can live with this thing," Barnes said.

"I am worried that if it doesn't materialise we are going to cause a huge number of people to become even more discontented and lose faith in authorities and that way we will lose the battle against the virus."


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