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South Africa is too poor for a second Covid-19 wave. Keep going; wear a mask!

25 November 2020 9:14 AM

"We’re tired but we don’t want to end up like Europe or the USA," says Dr Miriam Altman. "We just can’t afford that."

The lockdown mutilated the economy and destroyed the livelihoods – and lives – of millions.

Many countries, especially in Europe, are locking down yet again, as they struggle to gain control over a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Economic gains made since the first wave subsided are rapidly reversing.

How should the government approach the festive season – and all the mingling that comes with it – without risking a second wave and a deathblow to an economy slowly coming back to life?

© alessandrobiascioli/123rf.com

RELATED: Covid-19 resurgence driven by poorly ventilated indoor gatherings - Prof Madhi


Refilwe Moloto interviewed Dr Miriam Altman (University of Johannesburg) to help us understand the incredible balancing act.

Altman convenes the “Covid-19 Economists Group” to identify solutions aimed at mitigating social and economic effects of the pandemic.

There may be herd immunity in some areas [of South Africa] … What we’re seeing in the Eastern Cape is that it may surge in new places [than during the first wave] and rural places…

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

Because of the strength of the lockdown initially, the government has loosened up… realising the damage to the economy. It even opened the borders… the right thing to do…

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

The lockdown isn’t even a useful health response at this point. The infection rate went up even during Level-5.

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

The most important thing is to adopt… the wearing of masks, physical distancing, washing hands. The problem is that some people are doing it, a lot of people aren’t… We have to get serious about this!

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

Young people going to clubs; I don’t even know how that happens!

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

RELATED: Desperate to socialise, less-at-risk young Capetonians are spreading Covid-19


Covid protocols work against everything that is human! … But we must keep in mind through that fatigue, that we don’t want to end up like Europe… The Americans; I don’t know what happened. It’s out of control. We just can’t afford that.

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

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There must be more peer pressure… People will shift their behaviour… when called out… It helps me also… I would rather have discomfort than more unemployment…

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

Everybody has to get on this app called Covid Alert… If everybody were on that… You would have early warning…

Dr Miriam Altman, Professor of 4IR Practice, School of Economics - University of Johannesburg

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


25 November 2020 9:14 AM

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