Ontario Independent

Saturday, December 9, 2023

In the wake of Omicron, South Africa’s fresh COVID-19 cases double in one day

Key takeaways:

  • New cases of COVID-19 nearly doubled in a day, according to South African authorities.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing in South Africa, but not at the same rate as new cases.

Authorities in South Africa announced Wednesday that new cases of COVID-19 nearly doubled in a day, indicating a substantial increase in the country where scientists discovered the omicron version last week.

According to official statistics, the number of new confirmed cases increased to 8,561 on Wednesday, up from 4,373 the day before.

Following identifying the novel omicron variant, scientists in South Africa have predicted a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.

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The World Health Organization’s regional virologist, Dr. Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, told The Associated Press that “there is a probability that we’re going to witness a major doubling or triple of the cases as we move along or as the week unfolds.” “There’s a chance we’ll see a significant spike in the number of cases identified in South Africa.”

Early in November, South Africa experienced a low transmission period, with an average of roughly 200 new cases per day over seven days. Still, by the middle of November, new cases were rapidly increasing. 

The latest instances revealed on Wednesday reflect a 16.5% positive rate of patients tested, up from 1% in early November.

The previous rise in South Africa, fueled by the delta strain, peaked at around 20,000 new cases per day in June and July. South Africa, which has 60 million people, has recorded more than 2.9 million COVID-19 infections, with nearly 90,000 deaths.

Experts state it’s too early to say whether the omicron variant is to blame for the increase in instances, but it’s a strong possibility. Standard PCR testing can indicate that omicron is the cause of a positive case, but only comprehensive genetic sequencing can prove it.

New COVID-19 cases in South Africa have doubled in a single day.

According to Gumede-Moeletsi, labs in South Africa and Botswana are conducting urgent genomic sequencing to investigate omicron cases to see if it is much more transmissible, produces more serious COVID-19 cases, or evades vaccination protection.

“The information we have now is still quite restricted. As a result, there is a slew of other properties of this virus that experts are investigating, one of which is transmissibility. 

Another factor is severity. “Researchers must also determine whether current immunizations are still effective against it, she said.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing in South Africa, but not at the same rate as new cases.

According to the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the omicron form was found in five of South Africa’s nine provinces and accounted for 74% of virus genomes sequenced in November.

According to data supplied by the institute, the mutation was first detected in South Africa on Nov. 8 in Gauteng province. 

According to the report, the delta version accounted for most genomes sequenced in the country until the end of October, but the omicron form overtook it in November.

Source: CTV News

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