Elections Could Be Superspreader Event

There are looming concerns that elections could become a super spreader event as South Africans prepare to go to the polls on October 2021. The fourth-wave has already been predicted by health expects in December, and going to the polls could be confirming the possibility of the fourth-wave. 


South Africa is heading to local government elections in October and there are rising concerns that the elections could endorse the fourth-wave predicted by expects in December. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently moved the country to alert level 2, allowing over 500 people in an outdoor gathering and 250 people indoors. 

University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) professor, Mosa Moshabela said the decision to allow such big numbers in a single gathering is worrying. 

I think from applicable perspective it is concerning, especially the indoor shift of change from 50 to 250 people in the context of a delta variant that is highly transmittable.

Moshabela also indicated that the delta variant is airborne and could be easily transmitted indoors when the numbers are high in a poorly ventilated space. In addition, he said people are not adhering to protective measures, adding more numbers in gatherings could be endorsing fourth-wave, said Moshabela. 

The UKZN professor said about 70% of South African only wear their masks in public spaces which might give an opportunity for infection to take place. Moshabela also added that there are only 15% of South Africans that are vaccinated who understand that taking safety precaution against Covid-19 is important. 

The President and the Minister of Health have been worried about the election day instead of being concerned about days leading to the elections, the UKZN professor explain. 

The risk of political gatherings during campaigns and the church services will easily play a big role in spreading the virus before the election day, Moshabela added. 

He added that the delta variant could easily spread especially to the two provinces that still experience the surge of the third-wave, Free State and Northern Cape. 

The recent adjustments of alert level 2 could also lead to the resistance of the third-wave instead of a straight forward decline, the professor said. 

He added that the position South Africa finds itself in is precarious and understandable so because of trade-offs, which are unnecessarily coming at the expense of putting people’s lives at risk. 

Moshabela said the country should worry about any kind of gathering moving forward not political campaigns only, adding that our buildings doesn’t have adequate ventilation to prevent the delta variant transmission.

If the election events that are coming up could be turned to vaccination campaigns it can mean the country will hit two birds with one stone, said Moshabela. 

The majority of South Africans are said to be lacking information about the safety of the virus and the government hasn’t ensured proper spreading of the information to the public, he concluded. 

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