Covid–19 third wave in South Africa — going nowhere slowly

The number of new Covid–19 cases in South Africa has stopped declining and is trending sideways.

South Africa’s third wave of the Covid–19 pandemic is “going nowhere, slowly,” CSIR researcher Ridhwaan Suliman said on Twitter over the weekend.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported on Sunday that there were 10,748 new Covid–19 cases identified in South Africa, representing a 20.7% positivity rate.

Citing figures from the National Department of Health, 170 Covid–19 related deaths were reported yesterday, bringing South Africa’s official death toll due to the coronavirus to 79,421.

The following chart, posted by Suliman, shows the strange trajectory of South Africa’s third wave compared to the first and second.

Suliman noted that South Africa is not the only country seeing such a pandemic curve.

“The trend of cases in the UK looks very similar, as one example,” he stated.

In a summary of the statistics for the week ending 22 August 2021, Suliman said it was “a mixed bag”.

While hospitalisations were under control and decreasing nationally, cases and deaths continued to climb.

Suliman said that he believes the larger, higher-burden provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape are the biggest contributors to the national decline in hospitalisations.

The NICD noted that most new cases on Sunday were from KwaZulu-Natal (31%), followed by Western Cape (22%).

The Eastern Cape accounted for 16% of new cases, while Gauteng accounted for 10%.

The other provinces were: Mpumalanga — 6%; Free State and Northern Cape — 5% each; North West — 4%; and Limpopo — 2%.

Suliman provided summaries of South Africa’s weekly performance, including average daily Covid–19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths.


Average daily Covid–19 cases per week


New Covid–19 hospital admissions per week


Average daily Covid–19 deaths per week


Ridwhaan Suliman Twitter update


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Covid–19 third wave in South Africa — going nowhere slowly