Omicron wave subsides in South Africa: Coronavirus updates: NPR

Omicron wave subsides in South Africa: Coronavirus updates: NPR



A Public Safety Notice from the South African Government. The country announced Thursday that it had passed the peak of its recent coronavirus surge.


South African Government / Twitter

In South Africa, coronavirus restrictions have been eased as case numbers in the country decline, despite the government saying there is still cause for caution.

“All indicators suggest that the country may have passed the peak of the fourth wave at the national level,” the government said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the risk of infection remains “given the high level of transmissibility of the Omikron variant.” .

South Africa was the first country to discover the Omicron variant in November, and the following wave boosted the country’s seven-day moving average of daily cases by more than 70 times – from 327 on November 17 to 23,437 a month later.

The government imposed a curfew overnight, restricted alcohol sales and limited public gatherings to slow the spread.

When the government eased those restrictions on the Thursday before the New Years Eve celebrations, the moving average of daily cases fell more than half from its high in mid-December to 10,324 and is still trending lower in almost all parts of the country.

Omicron caused less severe cases in South Africa, but it could be different in other countries

A silver lining to the recent surge: South African researchers have found that those infected with Omicron in the country are less likely to end up in hospital, on average. And as MediaFrolic’s Michaeleen Doucleff reported, they also seem to recover more quickly from illness compared to the other variants.

However, it remains to be seen whether this will be the case in the rest of the world as other countries begin to struggle with their own omicron rises.

Experts believe that due to the dramatic past increases in South Africa and the relatively low vaccination rate – less than a quarter of the population when the omicron wave began – most South Africans have likely already been exposed to the coronavirus and had some immune protection.

In countries with lower exposure, including the United States, the cases may be more serious.

The number of new cases in the US is already at an all-time high, with the daily average of new cases being around 356,000. An analysis by the University of Washington predicts that number will continue to rise through mid-January, when the coronavirus is expected to infect more than 400,000 Americans a day.

That’s an astonishing number compared to the surge last winter when the United States peaked at 250,000 new cases per day, an all-time record at the time.

During that spike, more than 3,000 Americans died from the virus every day. 1,300 Americans have died every day for the past few weeks – a shocking number but one that has remained stable despite the rise in cases.





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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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