COVID cases in South Africa spiked 400% in a week in the wake of Omicron being found there




  • In Science
  • 2021-12-07 14:16:43Z
  • By Business Insider
covid test south africa
covid test south africa  
  • South Africa estimates Omicron has been in the country about at least a month.

  • Cases have risen at a rate "not seen since the pandemic started," per its president.

  • Omicron appears to be dominating new infections in most provinces, he said.

South Africa is reporting a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads through the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement Monday.

The number of positive cases found increased 400% in the past week alone, he said.

Omicron "appears to be dominating new infections in most provinces," per Ramaphosa, although he did not give specific prevalence rates.

He said the nation was "experiencing a rate of infections that we have not seen since the pandemic started."

A graph shows the daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa. An arrow points to the latest increase in cases.
A graph shows the daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa. An arrow points to the latest increase in cases.  

South Africa first raised alarm bells about Omicron when it detected the variant and reported it to the World Health Organization last month.

It found traces of the Omicron in a sample collected on November 9.

In the month since the country reported this case, South Africa has seen about a 40-fold increase in cases, from a seven-day rolling average of 275 new daily cases (4.58 per million) on November 9 to 10,628 (177 per million) on December 6, per Our World in Data.

Although cases have risen, it is too early to tell whether Omicron is more transmissible, better at escaping immunity, or causes more or less severe symptoms.

Vaccines have remained the most effective way to prevent infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and death even in the face of the Delta variant, and the CDC has urged people to get vaccinated and get their booster shots.

Almost one in four COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, Ramaphosa said. "Compare this to two weeks ago, when the proportion of positive tests was sitting at around 2%," he said.

Recent data showed an uptick in weekly new hospital admissions since Omicron was first seen, from 547 (9.11 per million) in the week of November 6 to 1,027 (17.11 per million) in the week of November 27.

Some early reports have suggested that Omicron could cause less severe disease than prior variants, though experts have said it is too soon to tell.

Ramaphosa said that hospitalization rates lag infections by about two weeks, meaning it is hard to tell how many of those recently infected would go on to need treatment.

He said that hospitals were preparing for more patients all the same.

A graph should weekly new COVID-19 hospital admissions in South Africa
A graph should weekly new COVID-19 hospital admissions in South Africa  
COMMENTS

More Related News

Fauci: US
Fauci: US 'confident' Omicron will soon peak even as hospitals struggle

Biden chief medical adviser also predicts 'a bit more pain'Cloth or N95? Mask disputes pit employees against bosses Dr Anthony Fauci. Photograph: Kevin...

COVID In Essex County: Numbers, Tests, And Trends This Week
COVID In Essex County: Numbers, Tests, And Trends This Week

In New Jersey, 511 people are on ventilators fighting COVID, but total hospitalizations are down. Find out the Essex County numbers below.

COVID Infection More Protective Than Vaccines Amid CA Delta Surge
COVID Infection More Protective Than Vaccines Amid CA Delta Surge

Those who were previously sick with COVID-19 had more protection from delta than the vaccinated, California health officials said.

'Completely full' ICUs as omicron wave stresses hospitals; FDA expands use of remdesivir. Latest COVID-19 updates

In Alabama, cases have soared and ICUs are full. Most of Vermont's hospitals face critical staffing levels, a study found. COVID-19 updates.

Man blew in school nurse
Man blew in school nurse's face after child sent home to quarantine, Georgetown cops say
  • US
  • 2022-01-22 11:58:00Z

A parent was arrested and charged with assault after he allegedly lashed out at a school nurse and blew in her face because his child had been sent home to...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Science