South Africa reported a rapid drop in covid cases today, but the main reason was a drop in testing.
These are the figures for Gauteng, which is the province at the epicenter of the epidemic.
- November 23: 605
- November 24: 1018
- November 25: 1950
- November 26: 2173
- November 27: 2629
- November 28: 2308
- November 29: 1909
- November 30: 3143
- December 1: 6168
- 2 Dec: 8280
- Dec 3: 11553
- 4 Dec: 11 607
- 5 Dec: 7929
- 6 Dec: 4488
At first glance, this sounds like great news, but the number of tests has dropped by two-thirds in the past two days. Part of it is a weekend effect. Only 24,159 tests were processed and the positivity was 26.4%, which is the highest during this outbreak. This suggests that most infections go undetected.
The good news is that cases don’t seem to accelerate any faster, even after adjusting for testing. Cases have increased by 135% w / w with roughly the same number of tests, but that’s an improvement over the past few days.
This is sort of a sign that it’s not as contagious as it was feared. Models tend to oversample around epidemic events and in countries where there have been superpropagatory events.
In terms of severity, there is an increase in reinfection rates, which means past infection is not as effective. So far, infections in those vaccinated have been mild.
“Sadly, we see more than double hospital admissions every day,” said Ian Sanne, an infectious disease specialist who sits on South Africa’s COVID-19 Presidential Advisory Committee.
Meanwhile, the list of countries where they have detected the variant is now too long to name. You can assume that it is almost everywhere or that it will be soon.
What is encouraging is that the markets have stabilized. Oil and copper were both higher today alongside US stock markets. The market has shown a remarkable ability to look beyond covid and it will likely be so again, barring a deterioration in hospitalizations.