SA’s steep upward trajectory in second wave ‘very worrying’ — Prof Schoub



SA virologist Prof Barry Schoub warned that the country is well into its second wave and that “very worrying” is the steep upward trajectory.

In an interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC World News’ current affairs program HARDtalk, Schoub, chairman of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 vaccines, described the image of Covid-19 in SA as bleak.

“It is bleak; we are well into our second wave which is manifesting quite a bit more seriously than our first wave.

“We are averaging about 18,000 to 20,000 new cases per day as against the highest peak in our first wave of about 14,000, so that will give you some idea that we really are in a steep upward trajectory of our second wave. So it is very worrying,” Schoub told HARDtalk.

When asked by Sackur if the situation in SA was “out of control”, Schoub said infection prevention controls were in place to try to curb the rapid spread of infections to a significant extent.


According to Schoub, superspreader events such as the 2020 Ballito matric rage triggered the second wave.

Schoub said that the new variant of Covid-19 was more infectious, also contributed to the surge in infections.

“One of our big problems is that now in our second wave, people are tired of all these infection prevention measures. In our first wave people were much more compliant because it was unknown; there was a lot more anxiety.”

Schoub said certain restrictions needed to be tightened and others needed to be prolonged, while noting that a hard lockdown would be damaging to the country’s economy.

The SA scientist said inequalities in the country also had to be addressed and improved on urgently.

He disagreed with Sackur that the government had “bungled” the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

“There are extensive bilateral negotiations going on with various manufacturers to have a vaccine rollout and the minister of health [Dr Zweli Mkhize] is confident that we would be able to immunise two thirds of the population to get to herd immunity.”


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