Omicron in South Africa, case boom: tripled in three days

300% growth in one week. The province of Johannesburg was most affected. The Minister of Health: let’s accelerate with vaccinations

In three days, Covid infections recorded in South Africa tripled: from 4,373 on Tuesday to 11,535 yesterday. Health Minister Joe Phaahla has officially confirmed that the country is entering its fourth wave of infections due to the Omicron variant, but he also added that hospitals are not yet under too much pressure.

However, the progression is impressive: the cases have grown more than 300% in one week, since the new variant was first announced in the land of Nelson Mandela (now confirmed in approximately 30 nations). Only the 42% of adults in South Africa, the minister said, he received a first dose of the vaccine. However, a huge percentage compared to many countries on the continent that have not yet reached 10%.

Contagions from Omicron in South Africa are now present in seven of the nine provinces (mostly in Gauteng, the economic heart of the country). According to Michelle Groome, of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, it is registered an increase in hospitalizations in children, especially under 4 years. “The Omicron variant is probably the fastest we’ve ever seen around here,” he told al Washington Post Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town. Shabir Madhi, who teaches immunology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, says that for the moment in most cases the patients have moderate symptoms, dry cough, fever and sweats at night. At the peak of the third wave, the Delta variant in early July had 26,000 cases per day. Do not panic, preaches Gauteng Prime Minister David Makhura, while President Cyril Ramaphosa continues to ask the world to end the embargo on flights from South Africa. But in a matter of days, Omicron could overtake its sister Delta.