Scientists at the African Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, analyze samples of the Omicron variant on December 15 – Photo: CNN
Ridhwaan Suliman, senior researcher at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), confirmed this information to CNN on December 22. He said the number of infections had dropped significantly in the most populous provinces and epidemic epicenters.
“Most of the other provinces have passed the peak of the epidemic,” Mr. Suliman said.
One of the country’s other leading scientists, Michelle Groome of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD), concurs.
On December 22, speaking at a press conference, she said all signs are showing “we have passed the peak of infection in Gauteng”.
Gauteng is the epicenter of the outbreak caused by the Omicron variant in South Africa, and was also the first place where this variant was discovered.
According to the NICD epidemiological report published on December 22, the number of new COVID-19 infections detected in South Africa as of December 18 has decreased by 20.8%.
Specifically, the largest decrease in the number of infections was recorded in the North West province, where the number of new infections decreased by 23% in the past week – currently at 40.3 infections per 100,000 people.
In Limpopo province, the decrease in the number of infections was 14% in the past week, and in Mpumalanga province, the decrease in the number of infections was 6%.
Researcher Suliman said that the characteristics of the fourth wave of COVID-19 epidemics in South Africa is the sudden increase in the number of infections with a vertical graph and the duration of the epidemic is also significantly shorter than previous waves. . Specifically, the outbreak due to the Omicron variant took only half the number of days to peak compared with previous epidemic waves in South Africa.
The chart shows the evolution of 4 waves of COVID-19 epidemic in Gauteng province, the epicenter of the epidemic in South Africa, the red line is the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic caused by the Omicron variant – Photo: RIDHWAAN SULIMAN
According to Mr. Suliman, although the positive rate “remains at a high level of 29.8%”, the number of infections is decreasing is a fact.
South African vaccine expert Shabir Mahdi said there could be a slight increase in deaths but the number would be “significantly lower” than the Delta variant.
South African scientists were the first to identify the Omicron variant, setting off alarm bells for the rest of the world.