South Africa has recently witnessed a rapid growth in the number of new Covid-19 cases, which is supposedly driven by two sub-variants of Omicron.
Speaking on the nation’s current battle, Prof. Marta Nunes, who works as a researcher at Vaccine & Infectious Diseases Analytics at Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital mentioned that, for the last three weeks South Africa has seen a substantial rise in the number of new COVID patients.
Nunes stated that despite the surging hospitalization rates, the number of severe cases and fatalities in South Africa has not increased.
From ranging at 300 cases per day at the beginning of April, South Africa’s new cases have dramatically increased to record approximately 8,000 new Covid-19 cases early this week.
As per Nunes, the exact number of new cases could potentially be higher, considering that the nature of symptoms is mostly mild and a considerable amount of the population that falls sick does not get tested.
The new surge in South Africa is considered to be driven by two variations of Omicron, namely BA.4, and BA.5 – both resemble the original strain of Omicron that was first identified in South Africa and Botswana towards the end of 2021 and snuffed out the rest of the globe.
BA.4 and BA.5 have already entered a few Southern African countries and some countries in Europe, however, is too soon to predict whether they will mimic the global expanse of Omicron.
Reportedly, a large ratio of the new cases is from the above-mentioned variants of Omicron showcasing slightly different genomic makeup.
Nunes added that the new versions of Omicron seem to invade the immune system of individuals that have been previously immunized against Covid-19 infections, typically causing mild infection.
Notably, 45% of the adult population in South Africa is fully vaccinated, whereas 85% of the nation’s population is considered to possess some kind of immunity based on exposure to coronavirus in the past.
While it is too early to take a decisive step, Nunes believes that vaccinations seem to have so far helped prevent severe disease and only display mild symptoms.