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The Country Needs To Make The Best Decisions Based On Science – Dr Glenda Gray

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Naseerah Nanabhai
28-05-2020

Last Sunday South Africa recorded its biggest jump in new COVID-19 cases at 1,160. Fears remain as our knowledge is limited to how the pandemic will continue to spread throughout the continent.

Professor Glenda Gray, a member of the ministerial advisory committee said the country does not have a way of predicting how the virus will continue to affect South Africans.

She mentioned that we do not know how it will unfold in various parts of the world. So, there are many variables that are unknown in South Africa. We have HIV/Aids, TB, diabetes, hypertension and obesity, and we have no way of knowing how the Coronavirus will interact with the immune systems.

As the data emerges, we see that there are things we can predict. We know that the elderly are more susceptible you are and those with co-morbidities are more vulnerable. This additional data provides some guidance on how to manage the virus but it does not open the gateway to success, Gray explained.

She also shared some of her reservations against lockdown regulations, saying that E-commerce does not cause COVID-19 and people exercising from 6 am to 9 am causes congestion. There were compelling reasons for the lockdown, but there comes a time when the efficacy becomes negligible, and we have arrived at that stage.

These remarks made by Gray were a cause for serious concern to the Health Department. Minister Mkhize voiced displeasure at Gray’s’ comments, stating that her claims were incorrect and misleading.

Mkhize mentioned that  “the ministerial advisory committee provided 50 advisories, which were all accepted and considered as part of broader consultations and inputs from other departments, provinces, and various stakeholders, including business and labour.”

The minister said Gray had access to his department and never raised other issues about advice she was providing, but instead went to the media, adding he believed this undermined the work government was doing.

For now, Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib and political analyst Lesiba Teffo called for the SAMRC to drop an investigation into Gray, regarding the comments she made. The SAMRC board has reportedly cleared Gray of any transgressions.

 

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