South Africa is at a crossroads. All of the strengths we have as a society, which could and should have been mobilised against Covid-19 still exist. There is still an enormous reservoir of solidarity, resources and ideas. We can still save lives, rebuild livelihoods, push back Covid-19 and birth a better society. But ‘in the time of contagion the lack of solidarity is first and foremost the lack of imagination’.
Today is day 125 of the lockdown. By last night South Africa had 459,761 confirmed Covid-19 cases and probably at least a million more that haven’t been diagnosed. We have 7,257 recorded deaths, but statistics on excess deaths calculated by the SA Medical Research Council show that the unusual loss of life is actually far greater; according to the MRC “by the second week of July, there were 59% more deaths from natural causes than would have been expected based on historical data”.
Thankfully there have been 287,313 recoveries.
South Africa now has the fifth-biggest epidemic in the world, a status which –except for the US — is occupied solely by members of the BRICS club (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA).
In addition, we have unquantified hunger, unmeasured mental…