Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A new surge of COVID occurs from the Omicron sub-variant in South Africa

According to health experts, South Africa is experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases driven by two Omicron sub-variants.

For nearly three weeks the number of new cases and somewhat more hospitalizations in the country, but a rise in serious cases and deaths, said Professor Marta Nunes, a researcher in vaccines and infectious disease analytics at Soweto’s Chris Hani Bargawanath Hospital. Has not happened.

“We’re still very early in this growth period, so I don’t really want to call it a wave,” Nunes said. “We’re seeing a modest increase in hospitalizations and very few deaths actually.”

South Africa’s new cases have risen from an average of 300 per day in early April to nearly 8,000 per day this week. Nunes says the actual number of new cases is probably much higher because symptoms are mild and many people who become ill are not getting tested.

South Africa’s new surge comes from two forms of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, which appear to be very similar to the original strain of Omicron that was first identified in South Africa and Botswana late last year, and was swept across the world.

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“Most of the new cases are from these two strains. They are still oomicrons … but only somewhat genomically different,” Nunes said. The new versions appear to be able to infect people who have immunity from earlier COVID infections and vaccinations, but they generally cause mild disease, she said. In South Africa, 45% of adults are fully vaccinated, although about 85% of the population is believed to have some immunity based on previous exposure to the virus.

“It seems that vaccines still protect against serious disease,” Nunes said.

Nunes said Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 strains have spread to other countries in southern Africa and some European countries, but it is too early to say whether they will spread around the world, as Omicron did.

The rise in COVID cases comes as South Africa enters the Southern Hemisphere’s colder winter months and the country is seeing a surge in flu cases.

At a COVID testing center in the Chiavello area of ​​Soweto, many people are coming in to be tested for COVID but learning they have the flu.

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“We’re in flu season now … so it’s flu versus COVID-19,” said Magdalene Matsuso, site manager for the Chiavello vaccination center. She said that people come for tests because they have COVID symptoms.

“When we do tests, you find that most of them, when it comes to COVID, are negative, but they have flu symptoms,” Matsoso said. “So they get flu treatment and then they go home because the majority is flu related and not COVID.”

Vuyo Lumkwani was one of the people who came for the test.

“When I woke up this morning, I was not feeling well. I was feeling body ache, headache, blocked (nose), dizzy, so I decided to come here,” she said.

“I was terrified of my symptoms because I thought it might be COVID-19, but I told myself I would be fine because I was vaccinated,” Lumkwani said. She said she was relieved to be diagnosed with the flu. He was advised to go home with some medicines and take rest.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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