Residents and citizens around the world are looking to their leaders to understand if COVID-19 is finally passing, or if we should be worried about reintroduced lockdowns and more social distancing. The same is true for South Africans. Has South Africa recovered from COVID or could it come back worse than before?
The Economic Perspective
Loan provider Wonga.co.za reportedly identified internet searches for their loans quadruple between March and July this year. That would suggest that more South Africans were facing financial difficulty in the second quarter and requiring loans to get them through a difficult period. But now it is August and those searches appear to have dipped.
This analysis is congruent with what Reuters has reported, stating the second quarter of 2020 had an annualised contraction close to 45%, which is the worst since comparable records began in the early 90s. However, the same economists are predicting that the third quarter will provide much-needed growth with an 18.6% rebounded now predicted.
The Health Perspective
South Africa was one of the worst nations to be worst hit by the pandemic in terms of number of cases and COVID deaths. In July, President Ramaphosa announced that the peak of the wave had arrived, and he was proved to be correct with almost 350,000 new cases recorded and over 8,000 deaths from the virus during the month. As a result, further social distancing measures were introduced including the closure of schools.
Since then, the number of active cases and deaths caused by COVID has declined. On 15th August, President Ramaphosa addressed the nation once again to state that the peak of the virus had passed, and social distancing restrictions were loosened to Alert Level 2.
So, Has South Africa Recovered from COVID?
It would be difficult to argue that South Africa had fully recovered from COVID-19. After all, the economy is still rebounding, which could take years. And there are still many (new) active cases within the country.
On the other hand, things do appear to be improving both economically and from a cases perspective. Is the worst yet to come? Probably not. Has South Africa recovered? See previous answer.