South Africa has in recent weeks recorded an almost 60% greater increase in natural deaths than expected. The South African Medical Research Council said that this suggests a much higher coronavirus-related death toll than has been officially reported.
The Guardian reports that South Africa is now the worst-affected country in Africa with more than 10,000 cases being reported daily. At over 420,000 infections and 6343 deaths reported to date, the country is among the top five highest in the world. More than half of Africa’s coronavirus cases are in South Africa.
The SAMRC said, “In the past weeks, the numbers have shown a relentless increase – by the second week of July, there were 59% more deaths from natural causes than would have been expected based on historical data.”
According to The Guardian, researchers at SAMRC, calculated that there had been 17,000 excess deaths in South Africa between the first week of May and mid-July. The Council, however, stressed that these included deaths resulting from conditions that would probably have been diagnosed and treated were it not for the pandemic. Nevertheless, they also include deaths from Covid-19.
The findings have reinforced concerns that official figures have dramatically underestimated the impact of Covid-19 on Africa, which currently has more than 750,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, Zweli Mkhize, South Africa’s Health Minister, said the rate of excess deaths calculated by the SAMRC was equivalent to that in India and Russia, where there has also been scepticism about the recorded COVID -19 death toll.
Umm Muhammed Umar