Undertakers carry a coffin during the funeral proceedings for a Covid-19 victim at a mosque in Cape Town. Picture: MARCO LONGARI / AFP
Undertakers carry a coffin during the funeral proceedings for a Covid-19 victim at a mosque in Cape Town. Picture: MARCO LONGARI / AFP

A pandemic like Covid-19 is a once-in-a-century event. It’s no surprise, then, that trying to make sense of the explosion of cases, and how this will reshape our country and world, is perplexing.

SA, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape in particular, are in the eye of the storm. The daily number of new infections now puts SA fourth in the world: 8,971 new cases were announced on Monday. We lag only the US, India and Brazil. To put that in context, on the very worst day of Italy’s epidemic on March 21 it had 6,553 cases.

This week, SA’s total number of infections breached the 200,000 mark: though it took 110 days to reach 100,000 cases, it has taken just 14 to double that. The human and economic toll is set to be incalculable, from sky-high unemployment to a higher incidence of depression and suicide. Add to that a completely gutted health system, and it’s no surprise that fear is the dominant emotion.

July will be a decisive month. With fewer restrictions, the responsibility to curb the spread of the virus sits with each of us. There can be no more space for a selfish refusal to wear masks, just as there’s no more scope for the government to mess up relief payments. It’s down to the wire.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.