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Actuarial Society: SA's second wave of pandemic likely to be less deadly

A second wave of coronavirus infections in South Africa is likely to be less deadly than the first, according to the expert co-ordinating the Actuarial Society of SA’s modelling work on COVID-19, reports Business Day.

While South Africa has seen a steady decline in the key indicators used to gauge the extent of COVID-19 infections, such as the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths, experts are worried that there will be a surge in cases in the wake of the easing of the country’s lockdown.

A recent seroprevalence survey in the Western Cape, which found 40% of people attending government clinics for routine HIV and ante-natal care had SARS-Cov-2 antibodies, suggests there has already been extensive spread of the disease, Insight Actuaries joint CEO Barry Childs told delegates at Assa’s annual conference. The most vulnerable people are likely to have already died from COVID-19, and the health system is unlikely to come under the same strain if there is a second surge, he said. There have also been improvements in treatment that will benefit severe cases of COVID-19, and reduce mortality, he said.

Louis Rossouw, head of research and analytics at reinsurer Gen Re, said Brazil’s experience suggests the relatively high penetration of COVID-19 in South Africa will not be sufficient to prevent a second wave of infection. Some towns in Brazil that have recorded similar seroprevalence survey findings to the Western Cape had experienced a resurgence of the disease, he said.

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