According to health experts, South Africa is experiencing an increase in new COVID-19 cases due to two subspecies of omicron.
In about three weeks, the country has seen an increase in new cases – slightly higher hospitalizations, but not more serious cases – an increase in deaths, says Professor Martha Nunes, a researcher in vaccine and infectious disease analysis at Chris Hani Baragwanat Hospital in the Soviet Union.
“We are still too early in this growth period, so I do not want to really call it a wave,” Nunes said. “We are seeing a small, small increase in hospitalizations – really very few deaths.”
New cases in South Africa rose from an average of 300 a day in early April to about 8,000 a day this week. Nunes says the actual number of new cases is probably much higher because the symptoms are mild, and many who get sick are not tested.
The new growth in South Africa is due to two variants of the omicron, BA.4 և BA.5, which appear to be very similar to the original strain of the omicron, first found in South Africa և Botswana late last year: spread throughout the world.
“Most of the new cases are from these two strains. “They are still omicrons, but just a little bit different genomically,” Nunes said. The new variants are likely to infect people who are immune to earlier COVID infections and vaccines, but they generally cause milder disease, he said. In South Africa, 45% of adults are fully vaccinated, or about 85% of the population is thought to have some immunity based on their previous exposure to the virus.
“Vaccines still seem to protect against serious diseases,” Nunes said.
Nunes said Omicron BA.4 և BA.5 strains have spread to other South African countries և several European countries, but it is too early to say whether they will spread worldwide, as Omicron did.
The rise in Covid cases is coming as South Africa enters the colder winter months of the Southern Hemisphere, and the country is seeing an increase in flu cases.
Many people come to the COVID testing center in the Chiavelo district of the Soviet Union to get tested for COVID, but find that they have the flu.
“Now we’re in the flu season, so it’s the flu against COVID-19,” said Magdalen Mazzoso, director of the Chiavelo Vaccine Center. He said people come for tests because they have COVID symptoms.
“When we do the tests, you see that most of them are negative when it comes to COVID, but they have flu symptoms,” Mazzoso said. “So they get treatment for the flu and then they go home, because most of them are related to the flu, not COVID.”
Vuyo Lumkwani was one of those who came for testing.
“I did not feel well after waking up this morning. “I woke up with body aches, headaches, closed (nose), dizziness, so I decided to come here,” he 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,” Lumkvani said. He said he felt relieved when he was diagnosed with the flu and was advised to go home with some medication and rest.
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