Salim Abdool Karim, chairman of the ministerial committee on Covid-19, says not all cases are recorded, “because not everyone will test”.
“In other countries, antibody tests have found that between 20% and 50% more people have the virus than is officially recorded.”
He says South Africa recorded more than 20,000 excess deaths from the end of June to the end of August, during the peak of the pandemic.
“In every country there is an expected number of figures. Between February and June, we recorded fewer deaths than we expected.
“During the peak, we had 20,323 excess deaths and we suspect the vast majority of these are people who died from Covid-19.”
Abdool Karim explains that South Africa’s death toll is then around 35 000, “but we are still not in the top 50 in terms of deaths worldwide”.
“Our death rate is currently a little over 2%. However, it is only the official deaths that are compared to the official numbers.
“If we look at the number of cases that may not have been recorded together with the excess deaths, then our death rate is below 2%.”