In last week’s address, President Ramaphosa revealed some interesting figures.

“Without the lockdown, at least 80 000 South Africans would have been infected, and the death toll would be eight times higher,” he said.

Thus, the number of deaths would increase from 194 at the time of the announcement, to 1 552. Without the lockdown, there would have been 1 358 more deaths in the 50 days.

Statistics show that about 94% of these deaths would be people suffering from TB, diabetes and other diseases that affect the immune system. That’s 1 276 additional people. To put this into context, over a 50-day pre-pandemic period, an average of 10 447 people die from diabetes, TB and cerebrovascular diseases (based on 2017 SA Stats).

“Field workers have screened 9 million people and conducted nearly 340 000 tests.” Thus, 15% of the population were screened, of which 4% showed symptoms. At the time of the announcement, 10 011 tests or 3% were positive. Of these, 2% died. Thus from the original sample of 9 million people, 194 people died.

The numbers are indicative only due to the time delays between each stage of the analysis. The big question remains – is the cost worth it?

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