HomeResourcesGeneral resourcesRead South Africa's national, provincial COVID-19 projections in full

Read South Africa’s national, provincial COVID-19 projections in full

Go behind the headlines and take a look at the projections in detail in these newly released reports.

Publication Titles: Estimating cases for COVID-19 in South Africa: Long-term national and provincial projections 

Author(s): Modelling and Simulation Hub, Africa (MASHA), University of Cape Town; South African DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), University of Stellenbosch; Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HE2RO), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Boston University School of Public Health; National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South Africa.

Date of publication: 6 May 2020

What are the reports about?

The South African government tasked teams from three universities with modelling the possible health and financial impacts of the new coronavirus in the country between June and November. The teams present their initial findings in these two reports, one looking at trends nationally and the other honing in on the picture in provinces. The modelling has certain limitations, including not being able to account for hyper-local transmission dynamics or changes in behaviour. Teams expect these models to evolve as more information on South Africa’s COVID-19 outbreak becomes available. The papers provide month-by-month projections for indicators such as active and cumulative cases as well as ICU and hospital beds.

Key take-aways from the reports:

  • The country could see about 40 000 COVID-19 deaths by November and anywhere from 1.2 to 1.6-million symptomatic cases during peaks in July or August.
  • Nationally, the lockdown is anticipated to have flattened the curve and delayed a peak in infections by two to three months, depending on how well the public adhered to measures.  
  • South Africa is likely to see a peak demand for hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) beds between August and September. However, based on current resource levels, projections indicate that the number of available hospital and ICU beds will likely be exhausted by July.
  • Epidemics in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape are expected to peak early with other provinces trailing behind.

Download the national projections
Download the provincial projections
Download the 19 May presentation on the models

[Please note: Information on the new coronavirus is rapidly changing. Please refer to the Department of Health for the latest information. Visit for updates on South Africa’s coronavirus response.]

Laura Lopez Gonzalez is a freelance health journalist and editor. She was Bhekisisa's news editor then deputy editor between 2016 and 2020.