South Africa Braces For Third Wave Of COVID-19 Infections

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Across the United States, public officials are pushing for more and more citizens to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vaccines are available at convenient locations like Walgreens, CVS and other local businesses. Still, the nation is forced to discard unused vaccines because portions of the U.S. population are still skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, nations across other continents struggle to receive the appropriate number of vaccines.

South Africa has only been able to vaccinate 2.9% of its population. Making matters worse, the nation's hospitals are overwhelmed as it braces for a third wave of COVID-19 infections.

"Hospital beds are full," paramedic Mohammed Rasool told CBS News correspondent Debora Patta.

"No ICU beds. It's quite bad at the moment."

Also, South Africa has experienced an uptick in political violence that has left six dozen people dead over the last two weeks. In the midst of the chaos, people raided medical warehouses and security forces were diverted away from transporting medical supplies, slowing down supply chains.

"There is a shortage of oxygen, also a shortage of beds," Dr. Fatimah Lambat added.

"You put the two together, it's a complete disaster."

South Africa is not the only nation on the continent to deal with such an issue. Several nations across Africa have not been able to vaccinate more than 10% of their respective populations. Adding on, more than two dozen African nations reported a 20% increase in COVID-19 infections in June. As a result, the World Health Organization has called for "urgent actions" when addressing this matter.

"The sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti of the World Health Organization said.

"We've seen in India and elsewhere just how quickly COVID-19 can rebound and overwhelm health systems. So public health measures must be scaled up fast to find, test, isolate and care for patients and to quickly trace their contacts."

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