South Africa had previously reported fewer infections, but has seen a sharp increase in new cases during the two weeks since Omicron’s origin. Although relatively few cases of infection are still being reported in the country, health professionals are also surprised to see Omicron’s speed in infecting youth. On Friday, 2,828 new cases of infection were reported in South Africa.
“We are witnessing a remarkable change in the demographic identity of COVID-19 patients,” Rudo Mathiva, head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Sovitoz Bargavanath Hospital, said in an online press conference.
He said, “People from the age of 20 years to the youth of about 30 are coming in a condition of moderate or severe illness. Some need intensive therapy. About 65 percent did not get vaccinated and most of the remaining people took only one dose. I am concerned that as cases increase, the public health care system will collapse. ,
He said there is an urgent need to prepare public hospitals to enable them to deal with a potentially large influx of patients requiring intensive care.
Scientists identified the new form while studying the growth, according to South African health officials. Clinical trials indicate that this form is responsible for 90 percent of new cases. Preliminary studies suggest it has a fertility rate of 2 – meaning that each person infected with it is likely to spread the infection to two other people.
At the same time, Professor Willem Henkom, director of the Africa Health and Research Institute, told the ‘Associated Press’, “This is a very big concern. We are all very worried about this virus.
Hencom is also co-chair of the South Africa COVID Swarup Research Group. “This form is mainly concentrated in the province of Gweteng, but we have found clues from clinical trials … which suggest that this form is already present throughout South Africa,” he said.
Vaccination is an important factor. The new form appears to be spreading most rapidly in people who have not been vaccinated. In South Africa, only about 40 percent of adults are currently vaccinated, and the number is much lower in people aged 20 to 40.
Hancom said as scientists are learning more about Omicron, the people of South Africa should continue to take precautionary measures to protect themselves.
AP joheb madhav