Cases surge after new covid surge from two versions of Omron
According to health experts, South Africa is experiencing a surge in new Covid-19 cases driven by two omicron subtypes.
Professor Marta Nunes, a researcher in vaccines and infectious disease analytics at Soweto’s Chris Hani Bargawanath Hospital, said the number of new cases and somewhat more hospitalizations in the country for nearly three weeks, but a rise in serious cases and deaths. Has not happened.
“We’re still very early in this growth period, so I don’t really want to call it a wave,” Nunes said. “We’re seeing a modest, small increase in hospitalizations and very few deaths really.”
South Africa’s new cases have risen from an average of 300 per day in early April to nearly 8,000 per day this week. Nunes said the actual number of new cases was probably much higher because symptoms were mild and many who became ill were not getting tested.
South Africa’s new surge is from two variations of Omicron, Ba.4 and Ba.5, which appear to be the original strain of Omicron that was first identified in South Africa and Botswana late last year and worldwide. had flown away.
“Most of the new cases are from these two strains. They’re still omicrons… but just a little bit different genomically.” The newer versions appear to be able to infect people who have immunity to prior covid infection and vaccination, but they generally have a mild disease. Reasons happen, she said.
In South Africa, 45 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, although about 85 percent of the population has some immunity based on previous exposure to the virus. It appears that vaccines still protect against serious disease, Nunes said.
Nunes said the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of Omicron have spread to other countries in southern Africa and some European countries, but it is too early to say whether they will spread around the world, as Omicron did. Covid cases are on the rise as South Africa enters the Southern Hemisphere’s colder winter months and the country is seeing an increase in flu cases. At a COVID testing center in the Chiavello area of Soweto, many people come to be tested for COVID, but find out they have the flu.
“We’re in flu season now… so it’s flu versus COVID-19,” said Magdalene Matso, site manager for the Chiavello vaccination center. She said that people come for tests because they have symptoms of Kovid.
“When we do the tests, you find that most of them, when it comes to COVID, are negative, but they have flu symptoms,” Matsoso said. “So they get flu treatment and then they go home because the majority is flu related and not Covid.”
Vuyo Lumkwani was one of the people who came for the test.
“When I woke up this morning, I was not feeling well. I was feeling body ache, headache, blocked (nose), dizziness, so I decided to come here,” she said.
“I was scared about my symptoms because I thought it might be COVID-19, but I told myself I would be fine as I was vaccinated,” Lumkwani said. She said she was relieved to be diagnosed with the flu and advised her to take some medicine and go home and rest.
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