HAVE SOUTH AFRICA GAINED FROM LOCKDOWN?
Without lockdown (no compulsory lockdown measures), South Africa would have (at best) followed the experiences of Sweden. Sweden has a much smaller population than South Africa (1/6th ) and therefore results are multiplied accordingly for the larger South African population.
Extrapolating the Swedish results to South Africa after 57 days since the first death occurred:
SWEDEN EQUIVALENT DEATHS IN SOUTH AFRICA: 21,426 people would have died.
ACTUAL DEATHS IN SOUTH AFRICA: 582 South Africans had died.
Therefore, the lockdown measures has helped save more than 20,000 lives in South Africa in less than 2 months.
Colombia, on the continent of South America, is similar to South Africa in
* Population density and
* Socio economic stresses.
Colombia also applied a lockdown.
Figure 8: Colombia locked down, infections and deaths - curves also not yet flattened (log scale)
Colombia has also been trying to get testing done but not as successful as South Africa:
Figure 9: Colombia tests, cases and deaths (log scale)
Confirmed cases at 31 May:
* Colombia 29,383
* South Africa 32,683
Confirmed deaths at 31 May:
* Colombia 939
* South Africa 683 (~30% less than Colombia)
South Africa completed more than double the number of tests completed in Colombia.
The total number of people infected are similar BUT South Africa have experienced 30% LESS deaths than Colombia (as recorded on 31 May 2020)
Compare to Nordic Countries
The countries who are neighbours to Sweden (Nordic countries) did implement lockdown and so a local alternative from the same cultural background as Sweden may be valuable to determine what a lockdown may look like from that region.
All these countries also have a much smaller population than South Africa (1/10th ) and therefore results are multiplied accordingly for the larger South African population.
Adjusted confirmed deaths equivalent (adjusted for equivalent population) – deaths counted up to 57 days after the first 5 deaths were recorded:
* Norway equivalent South African deaths: 2,300
* Denmark equivalent South African deaths: 4,900
* Actual South African deaths: 524
Figure 10: RSA deaths compared to Nordic Countries (Linear scale) per million people
In figure 10, the death toll is shown as a portion per 1 million people of total population on a linear scale. Therefore these countries can be directly compared with this data.
Figure 11: RSA compared to Nordic countries and Colombia (Log scale)
On an exponential graph, the lower death tolls of Colombia and South Africa are very good news.
Even comparing with countries who have implemented lockdown, the measures South Africa have applied have saved over 1,500 lives more than those countries.
South Africa have therefore managed to curtail the Covid-19 under lockdown and the answer to the question is YES.
THE NEXT STEPS …. LEVEL 3 AND BEYOND
The next steps ….. The distinct difference between South Africa and the countries who have battled the active virus in infected people for longer, is the shape of the curve.
Figure 12: UK, USA, Italy, France vs RSA daily death toll (per million population)
Combining the data in figure 1 (worst hit countries), with the data in figures 6 and 11, the death toll in South Africa is still increasing on a daily basis with the death toll exceeding 30 over 5 of the last 7 days.
South Africa have yet to reach the peak.