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    Omicron effects are less severe than previous Covid variants: S African Study


    JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) – A study in South Africa found that the Omicron form of the Covid-19 appears to be having a less serious effect than its predecessors. The Omicron variant was first identified by South African scientists last month and has sparked extensive research into its effects.

    “In South Africa, Omicron is behaving in a way that is less serious,” said Sheryl Cohen, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Witwatersrand, who shared the results of a study entitled “Preliminary assessment of the intensity of the Omicron variant in the South.” Africa in an online briefing by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Wednesday. “This is likely to be generalized in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which have very high levels of previous infections,” Cohen said, adding that the picture may not be the same in countries with very low levels of previous infections and high levels of vaccines.

    NICD public health expert Wasila Jasat highlighted that the current fourth wave, originally driven by the Omicron virus, was not as severe as previous waves. “In Wave Four, we had a huge number of cases in the first four weeks, more than 366,000 (compared to previous waves).” Jassat said only six percent of the cases in wave four were hospitalized, whereas the previous waves were up to 16 percent of cases admitted. “(Hospital) In terms of the number of admissions, it was about 21,000 on the fourth wave, about 19,000 on the second wave and about 16,000 on the third wave. The increase in cases did not really translate into a huge increase in admissions. The percentage of cases admitted is much lower than the previous wave, ”Jasat said.

    The percentage of patients with severe infections has also halved compared to previous admissions. Six percent of patients in the current wave died of covid complications, while about 22 percent died in the previous wave that was originally driven by the delta variant. The average length of stay in a hospital has also halved to about three days, Jasat said.

    “The low proportion of serious diseases we see in the fourth wave may be due to a number of reasons, including people with previous levels of immunity who have already been vaccinated, or it may be due to low levels of Omicron virus, but we need more to be able to unpack these things. Study is needed, “said Jassat Michelle Grum, head of the NICD’s Public Health Monitoring and Response Division, believes that Gauteng, the economic hub of South Africa, has reached fourth place. Waves

    “We are seeing a positive decline in the number of cases and the percentage of daily tests in Gauteng province and this has continued for more than a week now and we have surpassed the maximum in Gauteng,” Groom said, adding that the number of infections is still rising. KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape coastal provinces. “But we really need to be aware that this has been a long weekend since last Thursday and people are traveling, so there may be a change in terms of the number of people being tested. , So some of the lower numbers may be due to the holiday season we are in, ”he commented.

    Senior government officials have previously warned that the coastal provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape could expect an increase in infections as people from Gauteng and other inland provinces go there for their annual vacation. “Omicron is dominating and is likely to take over all the provinces from the delta,” Groom said.

    Adrian Puren, executive director of NICD, explained that the study included data from both noticeable and asymptomatic individuals. “The cases we report are from people with symptoms who have been referred for testing or have been referred by a physician or a person who thinks they have come in contact with someone who has covid, or people without symptoms who are either traveling for tests or returning to work,” he said. Puren said.

    Disclaimer: This post was published automatically from an agency feed without any text changes and has not been reviewed by any editors.

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