Experts say that while Omicron is accelerating the surge in infections in South Africa, relatively few people are hospitalized because patients have reported mild symptoms so far. Stated.
The country recorded 11,535 new cases on Thursday. It occurred mainly at the epicenter of Gauteng, the state with the largest city of Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.
This is five times the number reported just a week ago when South African scientists warned the world about a new variant.
Three-quarters of new cases in South Africa are now Omicron.
But so far, the rates of death and hospitalization are much lower.
Experts warn that there is still much to learn, but trust vaccination by preventing more cases of severe illness.
“COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise, but not as much as we’ve seen,” said Mary Kawonga, a doctor who heads the state’s COVID advisory board.
“Hospitalization is increasing at a much lower rate than cases, and at a much lower rate than we saw in the third wave,” she said at a press conference.
Only about 1 in 4 South Africans are fully vaccinated, but the proportion is senior citizen When they become infected, they tend to suffer primarily from serious illness.
Ann von Gottberg, an expert at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said:
“But I still believe the vaccine will prevent serious illness,” she added.
But so far, often headaches and I have a runny nose— And sometimes nothing.
Jessica Wilmore, 38, sore throat I have a cough on Thursday.
The next day she had a headache, felt tired and lost her appetite.
By the end of the weekend, she felt “washed out” and had a runny nose and stomach cramps, but her appetite had returned.
The only reason she had a COVID test was because she was planning to attend her family’s 40th birthday party this week. They planned to conclude it with a safari to Kruger National Park.
Two weeks ago, a 9-year-old daughter returned from school with a sore throat and runny nose, but her symptoms disappeared overnight.
“I don’t know if it’s Omicron,” Wilmore said.
Donovan Rothner, 42, was asymptomatic until a positive preoperative test.
“Without that procedure, I wouldn’t even know I was infected with the virus, and it would put many people at risk,” Rosner said.
A 44-year-old advertising practitioner had to undergo an examination after an 8-year-old daughter suddenly developed a high fever, followed by another daughter.
Then it was her turn, a slightly dizzy throat.
“Then I knew I had it,” she said. However, the vaccinated mother is reassured that her symptoms are “incredibly mild, like a cold in her head. I have all the senses of smell and taste.”
Hurry up for the test
Omicron’s horror has caused a flood of clinics and laboratories.
On Thursday, dozens of people lined up outside the shipping container in the midday sun, turning into a specimen collection site in front of a private hospital in Sandton, a lofty suburb of Johannesburg.
Others waited for their turn and sat on the sidewalk.
“The number is increasing this week,” said the nurse collecting samples.
Many people in the queue said they were in contact with people who were asymptomatic but later tested positive.
Data scientist Darienne Hallas, 40, asked for a test after her colleague was diagnosed with COVID. She has recently become “very tired”.
“I don’t feel much stress because there are people who have tested positive recently (around me). They didn’t feel that bad,” he was afraid.
Omicron “doesn’t sound so bad in the lungs,” she said.
© 2021 AFP
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