Expert warns against complacency as Covid numbers climb

With winter knocking on the door and the fifth wave of Covid infections looming, some unmasked citizens blamed the seasonal flu for the increased infection rate and remained skeptical of wearing masks.

There was a drop in new cases from 4,146 people who tested positive for the virus last week to just 2,650 new cases this week, representing a positivity rate of 21%.

Professor Ian Sanne, from Wits University’s department of infectious diseases, said that with Covid cases escalating, the average person should be mindful of their risk when going out in public or at work.

“I recommend everyone to vaccinate, increase your vaccination and take your own precautions to wear a mask when leaving your home,” he said.

Pauline Kempster-Britz from Randburg said she still wore her mask religiously, despite the relaxation around mask-wearing rules.

“I also continue to disinfect everywhere I enter, since nothing has changed. I’m not willing to take risks,” Kempster-Britz said.

She said she has been seeing the number of infections rise in recent weeks.

“I think there is an increase in infections because fewer people are wearing masks and buying masks,” he said.

Kempster-Britz said people quickly forgot about the bad times of total isolation and the full impact of regulations and restrictions.

Buitumelo Mokabane from Capital Park said she no longer wore a mask outdoors. Mokabane said he heard you can get throat infections from wearing a mask.

“Okay no, but I still carry one inside. It’s a must, I can’t risk it,” he said.

Mokabane said that because it took time for us to adjust to wearing masks, she would feel uncomfortable not wearing a mask indoors. Zandrie Burger said her entire family was currently sick.

“It’s just a seasonal flu because we hardly go into town once a week,” Burger said.

Nico Vermaak said he was waiting for smart people to announce a new variant.

“Even though the virus was getting weaker and weaker, I was still careful,” he said.

Erica Eybers said we should throw away the masks.

“Covid is Covid, whether you wear a mask or not, because I know many vaccinated people who have been diagnosed with Covid,” Eybers said.

Jaco Pretorius agreed and said he did not believe the masks would help.

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