Pessimistic trajectory predicts Western Cape may reach ICU beds threshold as early as June


A presentation by modellers from the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium has revealed a pessimistic trajectory, predicting that the Western Cape may reach its ICU beds threshold as early as June.

"Most of the province are on a trajectory that is similar to the optimistic scenario, but the Western Cape is on what looks like a pessimistic trajectory.

"In particular, the pessimistic trajectory for the Western Cape predicts that ICU beds may actually breach the threshold as early as the beginning of June," Juliet Pulliam said on behalf of the consortium.

WC ICU Bed threshold

Western Cape predictions. (Supplied) Click here to enlarge.

Pulliam was part of a virtual panel of modellers on Thursday – hosted by the Department of Health – who have been working on models in an attempt to predict the course of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.

The consortium is informed by the National Covid-19 Epi Model and the National Covid-19 cost model.

EXPLAINER | Who are the experts behind SA's grim Covid-19 projections?

The presentation included two scenarios – optimistic and pessimistic, where in the former lockdown transmissibility is reduced by 60%, and in the latter by 40%.

By Wednesday, the Western Cape had 11 262 confirmed cases of Covid-19 which is approximately 62.6% of cases in the country.

News24 recently reported that there would be a focused Covid-19 intervention in the province, according to Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla, who was speaking to Parliament's health committees on Wednesday.

This came after several ANC MPs expressed their concern during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Health and the Select Committee on Health and Social Service.

READ | Focused Covid-19 intervention from national government on the cards for Western Cape

The consortium's presentations further highlighted that the Eastern Cape is currently on a pessimistic trajectory in terms of current detected cases.

As of Wednesday, the province had 2 215 cases, 1 036 recoveries and 45 deaths.

The Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and North West are all currently on an optimistic trajectory of detected cases.

"The provincial projections show that there are a lot of variations in terms of the timing and size of the peaks.

"Currently, the Eastern Cape is looking like the pessimistic scenario and the Free State is looking better than optimistic," Pulliam briefly explained.

The consortium further found that the initial social distancing and lockdown measures have worked as it had:

- flattened the curve of the pandemic, and delayed the peak; and

- bought critical additional time to ramp up community testing and prepare mitigation measures for the oncoming wave due to the extension of the lockdown.

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