There are lots more datapoints than just South Africa and I think it's worth considering them all.As a bit of a datapoint from overseas (given Australian media seems to report very selectively), latest numbers from South Africa have shown a massive drop in case numbers (well below 1000 per day) to the lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic. This is despite restrictions being rolled back to the lowest level (L1) and the scary, infectious African strain being prominent.
There are definitely countries where case numbers are falling. South Africa is one of them. As are the UK, Spain, Mexico and Japan. Some countries where numbers are falling cite lockdowns and other controls, vaccine rollout and seasonal impacts as driving their numbers. Even within countries, there doesn't appear to be a consensus as to the "why" though.
Unfortunately, in aggregate, since the 22nd of February, case numbers worldwide are increasing again. Countries such as Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Greece, much of South America and parts of the Middle East are all seeing increases. But again, no real consensus as to why.
Whilst the USA and Canada have seen significant reductions in case numbers from their peaks in early Jan, the last week and a half their case numbers have plateaued rather than continued to fall.
And Israel, where over 38% of the population are now fully vaccinated and 53% of the population have received at least one jab, are also now seeing an increase in case numbers again.
Questions remain as to whether vaccination programs mean that those case numbers will eventually be controlled, the extent to which hospitalisations do or don't follow the uptick in case numbers and the extent to which deaths are then mitigated. None of that is known yet.
I think if it were clear as to why numbers were falling in the jurisdictions where they falling, or why numbers were increasing in the jurisdictions where they are increasing, it would be much easier for governments, both here and overseas, to plot a path out of this pandemic.