Covid-19: 'Delta variant causing enormous strain on resources' - doctor running Gift of the Givers ward

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Nurul Islam Centre Emergency Covid-19 facility in Lenasia. It is reported that Gift of the Givers set up the facility due to the rapid increase of positive cases and deaths in Lenasia.
Nurul Islam Centre Emergency Covid-19 facility in Lenasia. It is reported that Gift of the Givers set up the facility due to the rapid increase of positive cases and deaths in Lenasia.
Photo by Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi
  • Gift of the Givers have set up a ward in a public hospital to ease overloaded public institutions.
  • Gauteng is currently experiencing a third wave and doctors say they've never had to deal with so many Covid-19 infections all at once.
  • South Africa is currently recording an average of about 20 000 cases a day and nursing active cases, cumulatively, of more than 10 times that, with more than 64 000 deaths recorded to date.

At an emergency Covid-19 ward run by a charity in southern Johannesburg, medics wheel gasping patients to their beds, rush from room to room with oxygen cylinders and pat the back of someone in the grip of a coughing fit.

The scenes in the converted community hall are a reminder of how badly South Africa has been hit by its third and most debilitating Covid-19 wave yet, as the infectious Delta variant surges through a mostly unvaccinated population.

Fatimah Lambat, the doctor in charge of the ward set up by Gift of the Givers to ease overloaded public hospitals said:

The Delta variant has caused enormous strain on the resources... Every hospital is getting strained, every healthcare worker is getting strained.

"It's very draining... patients are still phoning me from the community for help. And when we're full here, we still need to help them," she said. "We don't want them to be lost."

With South Africa recording an average of about 20 000 cases a day and nursing active cases, cumulatively, of more than 10 times that, Africa's most economically advanced nation has also been its worst hit by the virus, with 64 000 deaths.

A vaccination campaign has been slow, with just 4.2 million doses administered to a population of 60 million. Officials aim to reach a vaccination rate of 300 000 a day by the end of August.

READ | Delta Covid-19 variant in children: Case numbers rising in SA - what experts say

Doctors say they have never had to deal with so many Covid-19 infections all at once. Hospitals in Johannesburg, where the latest wave started, are full.

For 79-year-old Catherine Naidoo, the most terrifying thing about falling gravely ill was knowing that so many had died.

"You don't know what lies ahead. You look at the news and see how people are passing away," the recovered Covid-19 patient said, lying on her back and adjusting her mask.

"It was the most frightening experience."

PODCAST | The Story: Covid-19 third wave gains momentum as Western Cape braces for worst

Behind another curtain, medics covered head-to-toe in protective gear adjusted the drip of a sleeping patient, while in another, a medic was getting a patient to do some exercises before getting her to blow into a tube to test her lungs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa extended Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday for another 14 days, including a ban on gatherings, a curfew from 21:00 to 04:00 and a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol.


Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Children between 12 and 17 can now be vaccinated against Covid-19. As a parent I am:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Relieved, it's been a long wait to this point
50% - 2865 votes
A bit hesitant, and will wait to see how it goes
21% - 1183 votes
Completely against my child getting the shot
29% - 1630 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.85
-1.2%
Rand - Pound
20.48
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.30
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.09
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.0%
Gold
1,793.05
0.0%
Silver
24.33
0.0%
Palladium
2,023.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,043.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
85.53
+1.1%
Top 40
60,525
+1.7%
All Share
67,051
+1.5%
Resource 10
62,969
+2.5%
Industrial 25
86,659
+1.4%
Financial 15
13,849
+0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE