While South Africa saw an influx of Covid-19 cases when a third wave hit the country, official deaths from the pandemic have increased.
On Thursday (May 20), the Ministry of Health announced that another 61 people had died of Covid-19. This follows the reporting of 167 deaths on Wednesday, 80 deaths on Tuesday and 50 deaths on Monday.
Weekly statistics, compiled into data by Jon Hopkins University and Our World, show the country reached a tipping point in early May and has seen a steady increase in mortality since then.
However, this is still well below the 750+ deaths reported daily during the height of the country’s second wave of Covid-19 mid-January.
Data from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) shows that the weekly number of deaths from all reasons continued to rise during the week of May 9-15.
Deaths recorded in the National Population Register are made available to the SAMRC on a weekly basis.
These have been enlarged to estimate the actual number of deaths by taking into account those who are not on the population register and the under-registration of deaths.
The estimated numbers are compared to the number that would be expected based on historical data from 2018 and 2019.
“The number of excessive natural deaths in people over 1 year of age has continued to rise, reaching 1,422 at Week 19 (May 9-15, 2021) from the low of 1,027 at Week 11 (March 14-20).” said the group.
“As of May 3, 2020, there have been a total of more than 160,000 deaths from natural causes in people 1 year and older, of which more than 77,000 occurred in 2021.”
Commenting on this week’s data, the SAMRC said the number of natural causes deaths was worryingly high in the Free State and the North Cape.
It added that the northwest, Gauteng and Mpumalanga are showing signs of an increase over the past week.
“With most metropolitan areas tracking predicted natural deaths, the excessive deaths appear to be due to slow burns in non-metropolitan areas of the country,” it said.
“The provinces with the highest number of deaths at the end of week 19th are, in order, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng.”
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