Coronavirus Crisis Update: South Africa’s Difficult Truth

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By CSIS Global Health Policy Center | Center for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS Global Health Policy Center | Center for Strategic, and International Studies. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode, we speak with Professor Salim Abdool Karim (Slim), a preeminent HIV scientist based in Durban who chairs the scientific Covid-19 advisory group launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa to guide the national response. Looking back to March, Slim bluntly surveys South Africa’s successes and achievements, the acute vulnerabilities of those living with HIV and TB, tough controversies, major constraints, and mistakes that required correction. Early aggressive action by the President slowed the spread of the virus and bought precious time, though excessive reliance on the police and military backfired. An army of 60,000 health workers are the lead element in proactive outreach to communities. Testing has expanded, but lack of access internationally to reagents holds the country back. Modeling has illuminated alarming possibilities, while triggering calls for more transparency. Cape Town remains a dangerous epicenter; others likely lie ahead. The future is a continued, difficult fight to control hot spots and permit the reopening of the economy.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim is a clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist, of world renown for achievements in HIV prevention and treatment. He is Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) in Durban and Professor at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

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