Things are looking reasonably good in terms of COVID-19 in our country at the moment. The numbers of new cases continue to drop again. And Health Minister Joe Phaahla has revealed that Gauteng has officially “technically” exited its 4th wave. We also managed to start 2022 without any sort of curfew! But what about COVID deaths? While there are still several deaths recorded each day, the Health Department has now revealed that there is a new backlog in reporting.

A new backlog: COVID deaths in South Africa

On Friday night, the department released its daily COVID deaths and the number of news cases. 128 new deaths were announced. But that number came with a clarification. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases says that the department is currently busy with an audit of death numbers.

“Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported. Today, the NDoH reports 128 deaths and of these, 59 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 93,117 to date.”

NICD Statement

The state of COVID-19 in South Africa

Of the 40 318 COVID tests conducted in the last 24 hours, 5 244 of them came back positive. that’s a test positivity rate of just 13%. That’s a big drop from the 30+% mark we were on for most of December.

The Western Cape is the province that recorded the highest amount of new cases (1 389). Gauteng came in at a close second with 1 061 new cases.

While providing an update on all things COVID yesterday, Phaahla also revealed that the number of new cases nationally has dropped by more than 27% in the last week.

So as COVID deaths continue to drop steadily in South Africa, will we end up seeing a 5th or 6th wave? Only time will tell. But one thing we do know, government’s vaccine goal is to now have 70% of adults vaccinated by the end of 2022.

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