According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), an increase in Covid-19 in wastewater treatment facilities could signal an impending wave.

“We are starting to see increases in SARS-CoV-2 in certain wastewater treatment plants, which may indicate an impending wave,” the NICD said in its weekly wastewater surveillance report, which was released on Friday.

The virus increased in samples for the week ending August 23, according to the centre.

According to the report, increases are also being seen in Tshwane’s Daspoort, Johannesburg’s Goudkoppies, Ekurhuleni’s Hartebeesfontein, Bloemfontein’s Sterkwater, and eThekwini’s central wastewater plant.

These facilities will be monitored closely. “The Omicron variant and its sublineages are found in wastewater throughout Gauteng,” the NICD added.

Although the picture is still unclear, Progressive Health Forum convener Dr Aslam Dasoo believes a resurgence could occur as early as October.

“At this point, there’s a chance that a resurgence is building and will manifest in October.” This scenario is also supported by wastewater surveillance. However, it should be noted that no resurgence on the scale of previous waves is expected.”

Because no new variant of significance has been identified, Dadoo believes the next wave will be no worse than the fifth. He stated that sub-lineages of Omicron were currently circulating, and that “it is estimated that over 90% of the population has already been exposed.”

Things will become clearer in the next two or three weeks, but there is no reason to panic and no need for new restrictions at this time. “The most important thing for the government to do is to maintain the Medical Research Council and the NICD’s robust surveillance and to redouble its vaccination rollout, particularly among the over-50s,” Dasoo said.

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