Ground Zero: Deep-seated colonial-era prejudice fuelled the pandemic in rural Eastern Cape
DATE: 25 February 2021
AUTHOR: Daily Maverick
By Leslie Bank
To understand the lethal shock of the second Covid-19 wave in the rural Eastern Cape, it is important to place events there in the context of how the state managed the first wave, producing a climate of cultural repression, fear and isolation, and a fundamental distrust in political elites.
The Eastern Cape has been deemed “ground zero” for a highly infectious strain of the Covid-19 virus, which emerged towards the end of 2020 and became known as the South African variant. The region has borne the brunt of the pandemic’s lethal consequences, with the virus claiming more than one in 300 lives, or 485 per 100,000 – a Covid-19 mortality rate that would be the world’s highest.
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