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  • Residents of an informal settlement put out a fire in Pretoria, South Africa. July 18, 2020.

    Residents of an informal settlement put out a fire in Pretoria, South Africa. July 18, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Abramjee

Published 23 July 2020
Opinion

From early May to July, about 17,000 deaths over average toll occurred in South Africa, indicating an alarming case undercounting. 

South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Wednesday reported natural death toll exceeds expected figures, implying deceases due to COVID-19 surpasses official counting.

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“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,” SAMRC stated.

From early May to July, about 17,000 deaths over average toll occurred in South Africa, indicating an alarming case undercounting. 

In March, South Africa implemented lockdown to restrain the virus’ outbreak while confirmed cases reached 400. However, the economy ceases alongside unemployment, and the informal work rate forced a rushed reopening.

SAMRC experts calculated excess deaths counting those above the historical average for a specific period. Another method is counting those that exceed predictions.

“However, the weekly death reports have revealed a huge discrepancy between the country’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths and the number of excess natural deaths,” SAMRC reported.

As of  Thursday, South Africa health authorities registered 408,052 COVID-19 cases, 6,093 deceases, and 236,260 recoveries from the virus.

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