The rise of COVID in South Africa driven by omcron subvariants, experts say

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A wave of news COVID-19 cases is threatening South Africa.

Health Experts say infections are driven by two omicron sub-variants.

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Omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 – which appear to be very similar to the original omicron strain – make up the majority of the new cases, according to Professor Marta Nunes, researcher at Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Analytics at Chris Hospital Hani Baragwanath.

“Most of the new cases come from these two strains. They are still omicron … but just genomically different in some way,” he told The Associated Press, noting that there is a small increase in hospitalizations and “very few deaths”.

A woman waits in line to be screened for COVID-19 at a testing center in Soweto, South Africa on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. South Africa is experiencing a wave of new COVID-19 cases driven by two sub-variants of omicron, according to health experts.

A woman waits in line to be screened for COVID-19 at a testing center in Soweto, South Africa on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. South Africa is experiencing a wave of new COVID-19 cases driven by two sub-variants of omicron, according to health experts.
(Photo AP / Denis Farrell)

The average of new cases increased from around 300 per day in April to around 8,000 per day last week, although experts believe the actual number of cases is much higher.

The subvariants appear infected people who have immunity from previous COVID-19 infections e vaccinationsand Nunes said they cause generally mild illness.

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“Vaccines still appear to protect against serious diseases,” he added.

South African authorities said in April that a rapid increase in cases was due to BA.4 and Salim Abdool Karim, a public health expert at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said it was too early to say whether the sub-variant would caused a “Fully developed wave. ”

the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed there was no evidence that BA.4 was leading to much higher rates of hospitalization or death.

A patient undergoes a nasal swab to check for COVID-19 at a testing center in Soweto, South Africa on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.
(Photo AP / Denis Farrell)

The agency said the number of new global cases has continued to decline worldwide except for Americas Other Africa.

“The jury has not yet decided how seasonal this virus will become,” said WHO head of emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters earlier this month.

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“If people are lumped together under conditions where a new variant is spreading, you will see high levels of transmission,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.