Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku needs to clarify his remarks yesterday that his department is “preparing over 1.5 million grave sites” for the Covid-19 crisis.
The entire number of deaths worldwide is about 550 000 and there is no scenario in which there would be so many Covid-19 deaths in Gauteng.
Mass burials may need to happen at a certain stage of the epidemic, but it is unlikely that these would exceed one hundred even on the worst days.
There have been 478 deaths so far in Gauteng out of 75 015 cases. This indicates a case fatality rate of about .64% which is in line with studies worldwide that show less than a 1% fatality rate bearing in mind the large number of asymptomatic infected people.
We know that the fatality rate is much lower in younger people and the median age of Gauteng’s 15.7 million people is 27 years old, with 81% of the population under 44 years old.
Whilst it is prudent to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, Masuku’s comments are causing needless panic and should be withdrawn.