COVID-19 in SA: Death toll could be higher than reported

The interpretation of statistics gives the best indication of how we are managing the COVID-19 crisis. So SA recorded almost 2500 excess deaths in the first half of the year, according to the latest Medical Research Council estimates. Debbie Bradshaw, Burden of Disease Unit Director at the SA Medical Research Council, joins via Skype now for more. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's COVID-19 death toll could be much higher than the official number.

Researchers have released data on so-called 'excess deaths'.

This is the number of deaths above the historical average.

That figure could be close to 7,000, since the beginning of May.

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Officials are not saying government tried to hide anything but instead, it's a matter of data collection.

"Estimating this is very challenging but we are not sure if we are right," said Debbie Bradshaw, Burden of Disease Unit Director at the SA Medical Research Council.

"But we do take it as a signal that the official statistics are undertaking the real impact of COVID, it is not unusual, it has happened in other countries." 

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The total number of confirmed cases in the country to 238,339.

The Department of Health congratulated South African laboratory services for completing over two-million tests.

Countrywide, 2,000,569 people have now been tested.

The total number of COVID-19 related deaths now stands at 3,720.

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