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Omicron Ground Zero in South Africa has peaked

Even as the world simultaneously panicked over the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, South Africa’s Ministry of Health delivered some encouraging news. On Friday, South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla said not only were hospital admissions of Omicrons down compared with previous waves like the deadly Delta spike, those in the hospital rarely needed oxygen and their cases are less fatal.

Phaahla told reporters that the country’s COVID patient hospitalization rate “died 90% in the second week of the current wave of infections driven by the Omicron variant” compared to the second week of the Delta wave. . He added that only 1.7% of all Omicron cases required hospitalization, compared with 19% of Delta cases earlier this year.

Since the variant was first identified in South Africa just three weeks ago, it has peaked in South Africa’s Gauteng province, according to national statistics, with a sharp drop in hospitalizations. He added that many of the milder cases have ended up in hospitals because there is space, unlike in other batches when doctors had to choose who lived or died based on occupancy rates.

“We have seen a drop in the proportion of people who need oxygen. They are at a very low level,” Waasila Jassat, a researcher at South Africa’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told Bloomberg. “For the first time, there are many patients who are not more severe than severe into the hospital.”

That’s encouraging news if it holds strong, remember it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere and if there’s anything known about this pandemic so far, it’s winter weather that makes things get worse — and that’s no secret for his terrifying rollercoaster through the pandemic with us. Australia, for example, which is also experiencing warmer weather, is reporting a new spike in cases likely linked to Omicron, although not as many hospitalizations as in previous waves.

World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that Omicron could be “in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected” and that it is “spreading at a rate we’ve never seen with any previous variation.”

While welcoming the news that the disease appears to be milder, he cautions against discounting the super mutant variant entirely. “We are concerned that people are taking Omicron lightly. Certainly, we know by now that we underestimated this virus at our dangerous level,” he said earlier in the week. “The sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems.”

Even if that doesn’t happen in South Africa, it could soon be the case in the UK as the number of Omicron cases has grown exponentially, prompting many countries, including France, to ban visitors from visiting. It is for all “essential” purposes. Elsewhere in Europe, countries still battling with the Delta variant still prevailed in the worst-affected countries such as Germany and Belgium. New Omicron cases continue to be identified across Southern Europe, but the number of hospitalizations – so far – has been much lower than a year ago as most countries braced for some sort of one-week layoff before Christmas.

Each country’s fight against the virus varies based on medical capabilities, population demographics, and national attitudes. In Italy, masks have been mandatory for indoor use since March 2020 while in the US, which is also seeing an increase in Omicron cases on the East Coast, masks have never been made mandatory. widely.

In South Africa, which has a relatively low vaccination rate, the population is younger than many other countries and nearly 80 percent of the population has had some variant of COVID since the pandemic began, the Department of Health said. on Friday. immunity against fatal disease that many people do not apply to other populations.

However, when the Omicron wave peaked where it is believed to have originated, hospitalizations were at 40% of the peak of previous waves, which could encourage countries to prepare for the inevitable as The latest wave of this seemingly never-ending nightmare. sphere.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/omicron-ground-zero-in-south-africa-has-already-peaked?source=articles&via=rss Omicron Ground Zero in South Africa has peaked

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