Covid-19 News

Women make up 58% of Covid-19 infections in South Africa says NICD

Women are likely to die in greater numbers than men in the Covid-19 pandemic because they dominate health and education positions
Written by Health-e News

Women are being infected by Covid-19 at a higher rate than men in South Africa says the NICD as it releases more data showing an accelerated spread of the coronavirus.

According to data released by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, 58% of those infected by the Covid-19 virus in South Africa are women. The NICD has reported that by mid-December 529 928 out of 913 890 cases reported in the country were women and has indicated the reason could be that more women work in exposed occupations such as health and education.

“The cumulative incidence risk has remained consistently higher among females (1 725.6 cases per 100 000 persons) than among males (1 309.2 cases per 100 000 persons) … the peak cumulative incidence risk was in the 50-54-year-age group (3 330.9 cases per 100 000 persons) for females,” the NICD reported.



Male vs female infections of Covid-19

Male vs Female infections South Africa. Image: NICD



The highest weekly incidence risk for females was in the 50-54-year-age group and for males in the 60-64-year-age group.

The 55-59 age group makes up 2 932.1 cases per 100 000 persons and 50-54-year-age group 2 909.8 cases per 100 000 persons for males.



Covid-19 age groups infected by December 19 2020

Age groups infected by Covid-19. Source: NICD


“The high prevalence and incidence risk among females could be explained by the fact that females are likely to be more represented in occupations, which put them in close proximity to others and thus exposing them to a higher risk of infection (e.g. teaching and health). This may also be partly explained by varying testing practices by age and sex (data not shown) and by different health seeking behaviour,” the NICD reports.

At the same time, South Africa has breached the one million mark of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, after 9 502 cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 1 004 413 cases.


South Africa's provinces showing infection rate as of December 19 2020

Provinces at a glance – infections and deaths. Source: NICD

A total of 214 COVID-19 related deaths were reported, with 123 in the Eastern Cape, 56 in the Western Cape, 17 in Gauteng, 13 in KwaZulu-Natal, five in the Northern Cape. The total number of deaths has topped 26 735.

“We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased,” said Health Minister, Dr Zwelini Mkhize.  To date, the Eastern Cape recorded 166 849 cases, Free State 61 771, Gauteng 274 272, KwaZulu-Natal 183 653, Limpopo 22 705, Mpumalanga 34 920, North West 38 540, Northern Cape 24 870 and 196 833 in the Western Cape. The recovery rate is 84.1%.


Incidence per 100 000 is rising

With the number of cases now topping one million, there are reportedly moves in government to revert to a tougher lockdown. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation this week about the pandemic’s new variation which is more infective and has swept across the south-eastern coastal regions.The NICD has warned that inter-provincial travel at the current time could increase the number of cases still further.

Cumulative number of Covid-19 infections in South Africa as of mid-December 2020

Cumulative cases of Covid-19 in South Africa.

“It is important that during the festive season, people ensure to maintain measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19… includ(ing) limiting the number and size of social gatherings, meeting others outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces, consistent and correct use of masks, proper hand hygiene and physical distancing,” the Institute said.

-Health-e News with



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