As South Africa confronts a second wave of Covid-19 infections, scientists say new evidence indicates that at least a quarter of the country's population - and possibly more than a third - may already have been infected by the virus during its first wave, which peaked in July.
South Africa's unusually high infection rate - potentially far higher than in some European nations after their first waves - appears to have been accompanied by an uncommonly low death rate, with early data from one province suggesting that the Covid-19 mortality rate was less than half that experienced in the worst-hit countries.
Bridget and Samantha Stenden, of Craddock University, have joined the growing number of young people dying from the disease.
On Saturday, Bridget enrolled at Union High School in Graf Rene in 2019.
“We write today [Saturday] with the very sad news that the Union community has lost a member of its class of 2019,” the high school said in a statement posted on Facebook.
"Bridget started her transportation University degree at Stellenbosch University in early 2020 and was vacationing with her family in her hometown of Craddock in December when she fell ill."
She was hospitalized in Port Elizabeth, diagnosed with pneumonia, and died on Jan. 2, days after her sister Samantha died of COVID-19-related complications.
Both sisters attend Stellenbosch University.
The school said: "What makes the news of Bridget's death even more heartbreaking-wrenching is that her sister Samantha, 27, also died on 27 December, also due to COVID-19 related health complications."
It describes Bridget as a talented artist who excelled academically."She will be remembered by all who knew her for her incredible tenacity, sense of humor and keen intelligence."
Samantha’s former school Cradock High also posted a tribute to their former pupil. “Samantha will always be remembered as a hard and diligent worker who gave her best with a warm smile. She will be sorely missed,” the post said.
Last week, the sisters' surviving brother, Ashleigh Stander, also posted an emotional message about the family's plight.Bridget was still fighting for her life in hospital."The whole family was physically and emotionally devastated by what was happening around us," ASHLEY wrote.
On Dec. 29, reported that Samantha and Bridget shared an oxygen tank when they were sick in Craddock.However, her sister's condition deteriorated and she died on the way to Bloemfontein Hospital, the closest bed to the hospital at the time.
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