Dec. 2, 2021 — South Africa’s COVID-19 circumstances virtually doubled inside 24 hours, leaping from a reported 4,300 new circumstances on Tuesday to eight,500 new each day circumstances on Wednesday, in accordance to the BBC.
Well being officers have confirmed that the brand new Omicron variant has develop into the dominant coronavirus pressure in South Africa and is driving a pointy improve in new infections.
“There’s a chance that actually, we’re going to be seeing a critical doubling or tripling of the circumstances as we transfer alongside or because the week unfolds,” Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, PhD, a regional virologist for the World Well being Group, instructed The Related Press.
“There’s a chance that we’re going to see an unlimited improve within the variety of circumstances being recognized in South Africa,” she stated.
In early November, the nation reported 200 to 300 new circumstances per day and had a 1% positivity charge. However circumstances started to extend rapidly in mid-November, and Wednesday’s positivity charge reached 16.5%, the AP reported.
South Africa was the primary nation to detect the brand new Omicron variant and report it to the WHO. The nation’s Nationwide Institute for Communicable Illnesses stated Wednesday that 74% of the virus genomes sequenced in November have been of the brand new variant, the BBC reported.
As of Thursday morning, 25 international locations have reported 329 circumstances of the Omicron variant to GISAID, a worldwide database for genomic sequencing. The most recent international locations to substantiate their first circumstances embrace the U.S., India, and Ghana.
Hospitalizations are rising in South Africa however not on the charge of the brand new circumstances. To date, hospital admissions are following the identical pattern as earlier COVID-19 surges within the nation, in response to an evaluation by the Monetary Occasions.
Scientists have expressed issues concerning the giant variety of mutations on the Omicron variant, although they will’t fairly say whether or not the variant is extra transmissible, causes extra extreme COVID-19, or evades vaccines. Labs in South Africa are specializing in genomic sequencing of Omicron circumstances to reply these questions.
“The world is watching South Africa,” Deenan Pillay, PhD, a professor of virology at College Faculty London, instructed the Monetary Occasions.
“There are loads of issues we don’t learn about Omicron,” he stated. “Actual world medical knowledge from South Africa will present us with a number of the first solutions.”