About CERGAbout CERG

Given the imminent onset of the winter season in the Global South and the associated influenza season, the authorities dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa raised the question on the seasonal impact on the infection rate. After consideration of the literature as it was in early March 2020, an ad-hoc group (COVID-19 Environmental Reference Group) CERG was formed. The original purpose of this group was to evaluate existing knowledge on the environmental drivers and confounders on infection rate in support of the epidemic projections. Numbering about 30 participants, CERG includes most of the leading environmental institutions and individuals in South Africa. Through a process supported by the South African Department of Science and Innovation and the Department of Health, CERG has been consulting with the epidemiological modelling groups that have been mobilised to assist the South African government in designing and implementing its response strategy to the COVID-19 epidemic. CERG has to date provided the epi-modellers with preliminary climate algorithms, daily datasets and projections across the 4,000 national spatial units used by the projection models. A continuous process of evaluating the validity and usefulness of the inputs is in place.