As the third wave of the Coronavirus establishes itself more seriously, there has been a number of events to show how serious the situation, not only is but also will be in the near future if the situation is not harnessed timeously. This emerged over the weekend as the situation in the affected health sector seems to be going downhill.
On Thursday, it was reported that the number of novel cases in the country, which were already high had extended exponentially. It was reported that the number of Covid 19 cases in Gauteng health facilities stood at 4 700, of which 1380 were in the intensive care unit. 3 432 were being treated in the general wards. Of the total number of patients in the health sector, 1 291 patients were in the public hospitals while 3 449 had sought medical assistance in the private hospitals. As far as the new cases were concerned, on Saturday, the country recorded 13 575 new Covid-19 cases, which brought the total active cases to 110 725. The number of people who had succumbed to the virus on the same day was pegged at 149, bringing the total number of fatalities to 58 590. A quick survey of the major hospitals in and around Gauteng province revealed that even though the hospitals were under pressure and most of the hospital beds were being taken up, the situation was being aggravated by the number of trauma cases that were unrelated to the virus. As one health worker put it, “You see people who come here with stab wounds and gunshots are the ones who are causing pressure on our facility, and we will soon run out of bed capacity like the first wave.” She went further to say that the government needed to do more to protect the frontline workers in the healthcare system.
While the province is writhing in the throngs of the third wave of the virus, the mayor of the provincial capital of Gauteng, Johannesburg, Mr. Geoffrey Makhubo, is reported to have tested positive for the virus that causes Covid. The announcement was made by his office, which added that he had gone into self-quarantine as a way of protecting himself and others. The statement went further to say that he would continue to monitor the city’s fight against the virus remotely.
There have been calls for the government to be more stringent with the lockdown regulations in order to protect the doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers as well as the health system from being overwhelmed by the third wave. A nursing sister working in the casualty ward at Chris Baragwanath said, “To be honest with you, this is the worst wave to have hit us, so the government needs to do more to protect us,” in an apparent reference to the complete banning of the sale of alcohol which is currently being sold from Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm.