SA’s COVID-19 risk assessment; don’t panic, adjust creatively

If you want a rational, balanced, economically-sober assessment of how the COVID-19 global threat might impact South Africa, read on. We have unique advantages and disadvantages, but on balance, my take-away is that we have to act quickly and creatively and get the basics right within our health systems’ highly-constrained financial, infrastructural and human resources. We have to make a plan with what we’ve got. Here’s my roller-coaster contextual thinking; First the high: globally some 93% of COVID-19 fatalities are over 50, and 50% of deaths are among those over 70. In South Africa, just 5.3% of our population is over 65, (compared to 10.6% in China and 23% in Italy). Here’s the low; we have an HIV prevalence of 19.7% among people aged between 15 and 49, (58% of whom are jobless). Among youth aged 10-19, there are 320,000 HIV-infected people. The HIV prevalence among black African females, aged 20-34, stands at 31.6%, (source HSRC). In total there are 3 million-HIV positive people not on ARV’s. That’s a lot of immune-compromised people. If our excellent NHLS can’t nip this in the bud before winter and Eskom renders us ever more susceptible, expect life-style limiting government intervention. Story courtesy of The Daily Friend. – Chris Bateman

COVID-19: Big impact … but get a grip

By Jonathan Katzenellenbogen*

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