The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest global disturbance in living memory. Much debate has focused on economic outlay to various communities or groups by governments and health services, including access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and interventions to prevent transmission. Following the outbreak in early March 2020, South Africa, along with many other countries, is now in the midst of a 'second wave' of COVID-19 infections. The virus has forced us to question the evidence for the 'scientific' advice that is given to politicians and society. Predictions of the extent of COVID-19, for example, have often been based on calculations founded on statistical modelling, and not actual trends. This has produced diverse predictions, and may have fostered mistrust and fear among clinicians as well as society at large. One issue raised by the current COVID-19 pandemic is the conflict that exists between the needs to protect health and to preserve the economy. If simply applying maximum safety was the overriding consideration for COVID-19, all populations would be living and working from their homes and segregated from one another to prevent transmission. However, the world is based on an economic system, and no individual, family, section of society, community, region or nation can survive without resources. For many, those resources are acquired in the short term, and not stored.