Covid-19 update: SA records two fatalities in 24 hours

South Africa recorded 41 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, two of them in the past 24-48 hours.

This brings the total number of fatalities so far to 99,499.

As a result of the ongoing audit by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of reported deaths from Covid-19.

The country also reported 1,853 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 3,679,539.

This increase represents a 6.5% positivity rate, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, said in a statement.

The majority of new cases today come from Gauteng Province (35%), followed by Western Cape (23%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 20%, Eastern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga each accounted for 5% respectively; Northwest accounted for 4%; Limpopo and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of new cases, respectively, today.

23 166 727 tests have been carried out in both the public and private sectors.

There has been an increase of 65 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

Molnupiravir: WHO recommends anti-Covid-19 pill for unvaccinated elderly

The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended that an anti-Covid-19 pill – Molnupiravir – be taken by patients with mild symptoms but a high risk of hospitalization.

This also applies to the elderly and unvaccinated.

Who should (and shouldn’t) take it?

The pill, called Molnupiravir and developed by US pharmaceutical company Merck, is taken as soon as possible after Covid-19 symptoms develop and then for the next five days.

A WHO group of experts said in the British Medical Journal that people with weak immune systems or chronic diseases were also advised to take the pill if they had non-serious Covid.

But “young and healthy patients, including children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should not be given the drug because of potential harm,” they said.

Reduced risk of hospitalization

The UN agency’s new recommendation was based on the results of six randomized controlled trials involving 4,796 patients, the “largest dataset on this drug to date.”

The studies suggested that Molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization, with 43 fewer admissions per 1,000 high-risk patients, and accelerated the rate at which symptoms resolved by an average of 3.4 days.

There was less evidence that it had an effect on mortality, with only six fewer deaths per 1,000 patients.

Additional reporting by AFP

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