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South Africa bracing for third wave of coronavirus, even a fourth

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South Africa is struggling to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections, fuelled by a virulent new local variant of the virus, “Covid fatigue” and a series of “super-spreader” events.

On Thursday health officials announced 844 deaths and 21,832 new cases in a 24-hour period, the worst toll yet. Experts believe the second wave has yet to reach its peak in the country of 60 million, and fear healthcare services in the country’s main economic and cultural hub may struggle to cope with the influx of patients.

Unlike wealthier countries, South Africa cannot afford to repeat the hard lockdown imposed last year, which caused massive economic and social damage. Some predict a third wave when winter comes in the southern hemisphere in May and June and there are fears that current vaccines may be less effective against the new variant.

“We are going to get a third wave, even a fourth. This pandemic has only just started,” said Tivani Mashamba, professor of diagnostic research at the University of Pretoria.

Main Photo: Members of the public stand with candles during a memorial for victims of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Johannesburg, South Africa EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

Read more via The Guardian

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