MODELLING CONSORTIUM (PROJECTIONS)
COVID-19 MODELLING UPDATE: CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE THIRD WAVE, INCLUDING THE IMPACT OF THE DELTA VARIANT OF CONCERN (JULY 2021)
The South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium was established to project the spread of the disease to support policy and planning in South Africa over the coming months. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the outbreak globally and in South Africa, the projections are updated regularly as new data become available. As such, projections should be interpreted with caution. Changes in testing policy, contact tracing, and hospitalisation criteria will all impact the cases detected as well as the number of hospital admissions and deaths that can be positively identified as associated with COVID-19.
Our updated projections show the following:
- Nationally, total hospital admissions and deaths over the course of wave 3 are likely to be higher than in wave 1, while deaths (in-hospital and total) may be comparable to or exceed the values seen in wave 2.
- Peak daily hospital admissions are projected to be similar to the second wave in most provinces under strong to moderate response scenarios.
- Admissions in Gauteng are expected to peak by mid-July; admissions in Eastern Cape, KwaZuluNatal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and Western Cape are expected to peak in mid-July to early August.
- Cases and admissions are expected to reduce to low levels across all provinces by September 2021.
- Uncertainty with regards to seroprevalence data and distribution of variants between and within provinces reduces the ability to produce robust projections in some provinces, including projections of for the Free State, Northern Cape and North West provinces.
- Model projections will be updated rapidly as new data become available.
- Model scenarios depict waves of different sizes in each of the provinces as a result of different levels of non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) adherence and fatigue. The increased transmissibility of the Delta variant places greater importance on strong NPI adherence and vigilance.
- Even with continued NPI fatigue, rapid vaccination of the population provides a powerful tool to reduce severe illness and death.