Infectious Diseases

21 July 2020

Coronavirus morning update: Durban woman contracts Covid-19 twice, and focus on KZN cases

A Durban woman has contracted Covid-19 twice within three months; and while Gauteng has the highest rate of infections, "KwaZulu-Natal is taking over".


Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 373 628.

According to the latest update, 5 173 deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 194 865 recoveries.

So far, more than 2.5 million tests have been conducted, with 33 899 new tests.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

A Durban doctor has reported having a Covid-19 patient who has been re-infected three months after her initial infection.

Dr Yuvan Maharaj, who runs a practice in Prospection, said the patient had initially received her positive results on 9 March, a negative test two weeks later, and then a positive result on 14 July.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) is now monitoring this patient's case.

"The patient had called me in March suspecting she had picked up the virus as she had returned from a north African country and had started to exhibit flu-like symptoms.

"I advised her to have a test done. Two days later, her results came back and she was positive. Fortunately, she was able to self-isolate and I put her on supplements to boost her immunity and treat her symptomatically. After 14 days, she was well and I asked her to go for another test, which came back negative," said Maharaj.

READ MORE | Durban woman contracts Covid-19 twice within three months, NICD keeps watch on patient's case

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has been hospitalised on Monday, government has confirmed.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said on Monday evening he could confirm that Mantashe was receiving medical care.

In a statement issued, the presidency said the minister was advised by his doctor to seek admission to hospital.

"Today, Minister Mantashe was admitted to hospital on the advice of their family doctor for better medical attention and monitoring, whilst Mrs Mantashe will continue to self-quarantine at their home".

This almost a week after Mantashe tested positive for Covid-19.

READ MORE | Gwede Mantashe hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19

The emergency field hospital built in a high-tech e-commerce precinct in the Western Cape, has admitted its first 10 Covid-19 patients.

Brackengate lies just off the R300 highway in Cape Town, amid ultra-modern distribution centres for some of the retail sector's biggest names.

And this is where the Western Cape government has now opened its latest "field hospital".

"Our Brackengate temporary hospital accepted its first patients today, making it the province's third field hospital to open.

"Ten people were admitted to the 338 bed facility on Monday, with the first patients receiving a heartwarming welcome and round of applause from the hospital team at the door," Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said.

READ MORE | Emergency Covid-19 hospital accepts first 10 patients in Cape Town's e-commerce district

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says that while Gauteng remains at the top in terms of the rate of infections in the country, KwaZulu-Natal is taking over.

"We are watching and looking at the trends and certainly I think in the country, Gauteng is really at the top of the rate of infection [but] KZN is taking over now," Mkhize said at a visit to Nasrec in Johannesburg on Monday.

As a result, the department was looking at ways of moving forward in KwaZulu-Natal, he said.

"KZN is taking over now and therefore we are going to be discussing with them how to move ahead so that they do not get caught up with the numbers."

READ MORE | Gauteng no.1 in rate of infections, but KZN 'taking over' - Mkhize


Cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Early on Tuesday morning, positive cases worldwide were more than 14.6 million, while deaths were more than 608 000.

The United States had the most cases in the world - more than 3.8 million, as well as the most deaths - close to 141 000.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

AstraZeneca's experimental Covid-19 vaccine was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers, data showed on Monday.

The vaccine, called AZD1222 and being developed by AstraZeneca and scientists at Britain's University of Oxford, did not prompt any serious side effects and elicited antibody and T-cell immune responses, according to trial results published in The Lancet medical journal.

"We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period," study lead author Andrew Pollard of the University of Oxford said.

"However, we need more research before we can confirm the vaccine effectively protects against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) infection, and for how long any protection lasts," he said.

READ MORE | First human trial of leading vaccine candidate shows promise


New research from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh suggests that, in the absence of a vaccine, early, strict government measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions may have resulted in significantly fewer Covid-19 deaths.

The aim of this study, published on medRxiv as a pre-print version, was to create a comprehensive database to track the response of 170 governments to the coronavirus, stretching from the period 1 January to 27 May 2020.

The researchers wanted to determine whether the implementation of several non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdown measures, restrictions on travel, and physical distancing could reduce the impact of Covid-19 in these countries.

While there is no vaccine available, and while the virus and the effect of its antibodies are still poorly understood, there has been no other choice but to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions in conjunction with contact tracing and testing to physically halt the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19.

READ MORE | Large analysis of 170 countries shows that lockdown measures did reduce Covid-19 mortality

The spread of the new coronavirus (which causes Covid-19) has caused immense disruptions within a very short space of time, with governments around the world responding in various ways to the crisis. Understandably, a lot of attention has been paid to this virus, and a considerable number of emerging studies have already shed some light on it. Here are some key discoveries:

Although more research needs to be done on the potential link between blood groups and SARS-CoV-2, recent data from 750 000 participants show that type O blood appears to be more resilient against contracting the virus, as well as severe symptoms, compared to other blood types. Health24 reported on the story.

The preliminary data came from US-based private genetic testing company 23andME. According to the results, people with type O blood appear to be 9% to 18% less likely to test positive for Covid-19.

In another sample set limited to those with high exposure to the virus, such as essential workers, they found those with type O blood to be 13% to 26% less likely to contract the virus.

READ MORE | 4 unusual things we’ve learned about the new coronavirus

Even a month after hospital discharge and "recovery", a majority of patients who had survived severe Covid-19 were still dealing with fatigue, shortness of breath and other symptoms, Italian research shows.

The study tracked outcomes for 143 hospitalised patients treated in April in Rome, at the height of the Italian Covid-19 pandemic.

They'd spent an average of about two weeks under hospital care, and one-fifth had required some form of respiratory support, said a team led by Dr Angelo Carfi, of the Policlinic Foundation University Agostino Gemelli, in Rome.

Assessed an average of five weeks after discharge, few of these survivors could say that their lives and health had returned to normal. In fact, "87.4% reported persistence of at least one symptom", most typically fatigue (53% of patients) or a troubling shortness of breath (43%).

READ MORE | Most survivors of severe Covid-19 report symptoms many weeks after 'recovery', study shows

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Maintain physical distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

Image credit: Getty Images