Reckless utterances can undo gains in combating Covid-19 – expert

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Bongani Siziba

While South Africa continues to battle with the new Covid-19 variant and the second wave, experts have warned that the fight against the deadly virus could be hindered by the reckless behavior and utterances in the society.

This is the view of Professor Shabir Madhi, a Vaccinology expert from the University of Witwatersrand who is also the director of the Medical Research Council.

Prof Madhi made the statements in a recent interview with NewsWorth in Johannesburg.

He said some of the utterances by some members of the society about the vaccine show a lack of understanding and knowledge and could therefore reverse the gains made already in terms of fighting Covid-19.

“It’s really an issue of reaching out to the public and engaging them to challenge the narratives while educating them on why the vaccine is our only way out of this pandemic. Wearing of masks, washing our hands must continue but they are not sustainable” Prof Madhi said.

Prof Madhi’s statements come on the back of ANC Councillor for eThekwini Sifiso Mngadi’s audio clips which went viral on social media where he was suggesting that there was no Covid-19 and that 5G cellphone towers were responsible for killing people. He also claimed that white people had long been vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Maybe, we as councillors need to call a special council meeting, take a decision that all 5G towers must be disconnected in eThekwini,” he said.

South Africa will be receiving 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines in January and 500 000 doses in February from Serum Institute of India.

Mngadi’s statements are sadly coming when South Africa is currently battling a surge in cases since the beginning of the new year and has been recording over 10 000 cases daily. The situation has been worsened by the more lethal second variant and hospitals, and mortuaries are feeling the strain.

Limukani Sibanda, an undertaker and director of Dawu Funeral Parlour told Newsworth that they were overwhelmed with some bodies remaining uncollected from as far back as December last year.

Limukani Sibanda

“The numbers are very bad. In government mortuaries, it’s sad seeing bodies just lying there. When we go there to collect bodies, we see a lot of them piling up, it’s difficult for some families to collect their loved ones because of lack of resources,” Sibanda said.

The second wave of infections has seen an alarming rise in the death toll with over 37 000 deaths recorded by Sunday. This has also caused a backlog in the collection of bodies.

The funeral Federation of South Africa confirmed that the increase in fatalities was causing problems like shortage of burial sites, cremations and body storage facilities.

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