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Have 19 out of 20 Covid cases gone undetected?

Adam Oxford
Adam Oxford

Official stats record just over 650 000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa, but the question epidemiologists around the world are struggling to answer is how many cases have there been that we don’t know about? Discovery Health boss Ryan Noach has crunched some numbers and come up with a number for local infections – a whopping 13 000 000, or 20 times the official number. If it seems big, Noach says it’s based on the SAMRC’s excess death numbers (see ND passim). These suggest somewhere in the region of 44 000 more people have died from natural causes than would be expected since May. Noach reckons there’s a 90% probability these are Covid-19 related, and backs up the claim with other numbers. Other estimates put the number even higher – up to 20 million says Wits’ Prof Mhadi. In other coronavirus news, check out the new suite of tools and widgets by visualisation-meisters at Flourish, including a neat global timeline map.

Adam Oxford
  • Adam Oxford is a freelance journalist, media consultant and civic tech enthusiast. He also works closely with startups developing solutions to access to justice problems.

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