By November this year, between 40,000 and 45,000 South Africans may have died of the coronavirus.
The country’s leading experts, on an online media event with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, dared to make that prediction on the basis of models compiled by them.
This comes after fierce criticism over the apparent lack of transparency on planning models and other Covid-19 data.
The team of experts, who had an online meeting with Mkhize, further predicts that the current number of hospital beds in high-care units will then be far too low.
Between June and November, 40,000 to 45,000 people can die from Covid-19, with nearly 500 deaths by the end of May says the experts.
According to the experts, It is predicted that between June and November between 20,000 and 35,000 high-care beds will be needed, and 500 at the end of May.
The different provinces are expected to see a spike in infections at different times, with different levels of infection and death. The highest national infection rate is expected from mid-July to mid-August.
The models reveal that the capacity of hospitals can be exceeded even in the early stages of increasing infections.
Mkhize says there are plans to increase beds in the high-care units for patients who need to be connected to a ventilator for an extended period of time.
According to the minister, 125 390 beds are available in ordinary halls and approximately 4 000 in high-care units in the public and private sectors.
A further 6,500 beds will be provided here.
The models predict that 4,000 beds will be needed in high-care units by June.
A core goal of the state of containment was to expand the capacity of hospitals and acquire more ventilators, Mkhize says.