Professor Salim Abdool Karim opened the PRIS 2020 online symposium with a talk about the current state of Covid-19 infections in SA and its implications for 2021.

South Africa currently has the highest number of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in Africa recording over 700,000 cases and 19,000 deaths by the end of October. Although the South African government’s mitigation strategies initially slowed the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections, it had substantial adverse economic and health impacts.  As restrictions on movement started to ease incrementally and economic activities resumed from 1 June, the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases and deaths increased with the peak of infections exceeding 12,000 per day reached in mid-July with a steady decline in cases to about 1400 infections per day in late September.

This presentation will describe the Covid-19 epidemic trends in South Africa, explore how the meaning of science has changed in the era of Covid-19 and reflect on what can be anticipated in 2021 and beyond. A positive scientific consequence of the Covid-19 epidemic has been how science has become a common pastime with data being available fast, transparently, and open. Mitigating the impact of Covid-19 has been complicated but has highlighted the importance of “following the science”. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 epidemic has also promoted some poor-quality science and “snake oil treatments”.

Read more about his talk here: https://pris.ukzn.ac.za/keynote