Penny drops for CR on Covid-19 data

President Cyril Ramaphosa and team have finally lifted some of the strictest, strangest Covid-19 restrictions and have pledged to start working on ‘breathing life into our struggling economy’.

However, it’s unfortunate the Cabinet took so long to see what critics – like independent thinktank PANDA – of government Covid-19 models have been saying for some time: forecasts of deaths have been massively overblown in SA. Delays in easing restrictions have contributed to an erosion of tax revenues, job losses and the unbearable hardship to which the president alluded in his speech on Saturday.

Nevertheless, the penny has dropped. President Ramaphosa emphasised, when he announced the move to lockdown level two, that there were only 105,000 active Covid-19 cases in the country as of the weekend. And ample bed capacity in hospitals to cope with severe cases. So far, fewer than 12,000 people are reported as having died of the nearly 600,000 who have tested positive.

Ramaphosa says he wants to get the SA economy back to where it was before Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill. There’ll undoubtedly be a collective crossing of fingers that CR has a different team of advisors and more competent data modellers around him for this existentially important task than the one he relied on heavily for his Covid-19 containment plan.

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*And here’s Chapter Four of Cyril Ramaphosa – The Road to Presidential Power by Anthony Butler –

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