KILLER COVID DEVASTATES SOUTH AFRICA

The second wave of the disease is deadlier, spreads more easily and targets the young

Kamogelo Muvhenzhe

It’s called a second wave, but this phase of the pandemic is turning out to be much deadlier than the first wave which changed the world.

While the numbers in South Africa and neighbouring countries soar, the virus is killing younger people, and spreading more quickly.

In South Africa the dead this week include:

  • Bapedi King, King Victor Thulare III

Ntoampe Mampuru, spokesman for the royal house, has confirmed the 40-year-old King, pictured above, died of Covid-19 complications on Wednesday. 

Mampuru said the sudden death of the king has caused shock waves in the Maebe Tjate III Palace. Thulare’s death comes less than a year after he was recognised by President Cyril Ramaphosa as the rightful King of the Bapedi nation, as we reported earlier.

Though preparations for the funeral are underway a date for his funeral has not been announced. 

“We have decided on next week Saturday but we are still waiting for a word from President Ramaphosa,” Mampuru said. 

  • Sedibeng Mayor Busisiwe Modisakeng died on Friday morning of Covid-19 complications. Modisakeng had been the Sedibeng mayor since 2016 and she served as mayor for the Lesedi Local Municipality. 
  • Mluleki George, the icon who helped forge the sports world in SA during the transition to democracy, died at the age of 72.

By Wednesday, a record number of more than 31,000 Covid deaths were recorded in SA. Many deaths due to Covid are probably not being recorded.

The new strain of Covid is seen as driving the new wave of destruction that is reaching all corners of the country.

The healthcare systems in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are all taking strain with this new challenge and are running out of beds and oxygen.

Zimbabwe has gone into lockdown for a month and Lesotho is struggling to cope as cases spiked up as mine workers and holiday makers have returned from South Africa.

It’s being called the “South African” strain across the world – probably unfairly, in that it was identified in SA, but did not necessarily start here.

Several countries, including the UK, have blocked travel from South Africa.

There were concerns this week that some of the vaccines coming out might not deal with the “South African” strain, but latest tests show that at least some of the vaccines will work.