Daily check-ups can be influenced by several factors and are therefore not completely reliable, but they currently suggest that the number of infections with the Omicron variant drops rapidly when the surge begins to recede.
South Africa is in the front rows of the Omicron wave. The eyes of the planet are on her to see how the situation evolves there and to try to guess what the future may hold for us.
After a peak of nearly 27,000 new cases nationwide last Thursday, there were 15,424 new infections on Tuesday. In Gauteng province – South Africa’s most populous with 16 million people, including Johannesburg, the country’s largest city, and the capital Pretoria – the decline started earlier and continued.
After counting 16,000 new infections on December 12, Gauteng only reported around 3,300 on Tuesday. About 90% of new infections in Gauteng since mid-November are believed to be attributable to the Omicron variant, according to tests.
A short and less serious wave
University of the Witwatersrand researcher Marta Nunes told The Associated Press that the Omicron wave was
short and that she has
not very serious in terms of hospitalizations and deaths.
The variant has now been detected in 89 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
Experts have feared South Africa’s healthcare system could collapse in the face of Omicron’s onslaught, even though the variant appears to cause less severe illness and lead to fewer deaths.
However, one must be careful before concluding that what is happening in South Africa will be repeated elsewhere, warn experts, since the situation in each country is different.
They point out, for example, that the summer season in South Africa means that people mostly congregate outdoors, which is not currently the case in Europe and much of North America.
It is also not known how many South Africans have been infected with the Omicron variant without showing any symptoms.