South Africa had 80 percent fewer hospitalizations during the Omicron wave than the previous wave, which was dominated by the delta variable. This is what several South African researchers said during an online press conference in the country today.
In this new study, researchers from the South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) primarily looked at the early days of Ommicron and compared infection, hospitalization, and death rates with previous waves. The Omicron wave has been said in South Africa for a few weeks now, and this new data confirms it even more.
Not only are the number of hospital admissions significantly reduced, according to this study, people who end up in the hospital are also less sick. There was a steep seventy percent reduction in corona among patients admitted compared to Delta. As a result, the number of deaths decreased and people were discharged from hospital faster. In the periods compared, there were more than three times as many infections but 75 percent fewer deaths. On average, people stayed in the hospital for three days, instead of the six days during the previous wave.
The researchers stress that they cannot conclude whether the omikron variant itself causes milder complaints or whether this is due to conditions in South Africa. In particular, they noted, studies show that between 60 and 70 percent of the South African population has already been infected with the Covid virus. 39 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated, but the vaccination campaign has slowly begun. Thus, in many cases, it will not be the first infection with the Covid virus, and so the consequences may be more benign.
Although they believe that omikron will behave in the same way in other African countries, under similar conditions, they cannot say the same about Western countries. “In Western countries, it’s winter now, the population is older, a higher proportion of the population is protected by a vaccine, and a lower proportion have ever had Covid,” said Sherrill Cohen, a researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Gynecology (NICD). “So it may be because of the large number of people who have contracted Covid, we are better protected, that is stronger than vaccination and it simply protects us better.”
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