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SA's COVID-19 resurgence driven by Omicron sub-variants, says NICD

12 May 2022 8:31 AM
Tags:
nicd
COVID-19
Covid-19 cases
Covid-19 resurgence
fifth wave
Professor Adrian Puren

Breakfast host Refilwe Moloto chats to Professor Adrian Puren, the executive director of the NICD.
  • SA recorded more than 10,000 new daily COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)
  • The NICD's Prof Adrian Puren says the new cases appear to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants
  • The sub-variants have not shown an increased risk of death or hospitalisation at this stage but health authorities are monitoring the data closely

Image copyright: kuprevich/123rf.com

South Africa recorded 10,017 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

The NICD's acting executive director, Professor Adrian Puren, says sub-lineages of the Omicron variant are driving the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the country.

BA.4 and BA.5 are two recently-designated Omicron sub-lineages. They are not new variants, but rather they are Omicron viruses with a new combination of mutations.

Prof Puren says health officials are keeping an eye on whether the sub-variants will lead to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths.

RELATED: 'SA facing COVID-19 resurgence but deaths and hospital cases likely to stay low'

It has been anticipated that we would have resurgences and I think it's mainly driven in part by the result of either new variants or in this particular resurgence it is really the sub-lineages of the variant of concern, the Omicron variant.

Professor Adrian Puren, Acting executive director - National Institute for Communicable Diseases

The professor says officials aren't expecting the disease to be more severe than it was in the fourth wave at this stage, however, they are monitoring the data closely.

He says that the level of COVID-19 testing has dropped in this latest resurgence compared to the previous wave.

Due to this and the start of the flu season, he's urged people who experience severe systptoms to take precautions.

RELATED: NICD: South Africans need not panic about new Omicron sub-variant

Our sense is that if this is a sub-lineage or sub-lineages that are driving this, it's likely that we will see cases. It's difficut to monitor trends but we have to keep an eye out on our hospitalisations and deaths specifically.

Professor Adrian Puren, Acting executive director - National Institute for Communicable Diseases

There are certainly increases [hospitalisations and deaths], we shouldn't be complacent about that but at least it still seems to be uncoupled from the cases that we are currently observing.

Professor Adrian Puren, Acting executive director - National Institute for Communicable Diseases

We are not seeing a marked increase in excess deaths yet, which I think is a good thing.

Professor Adrian Puren, Acting executive director - National Institute for Communicable Diseases



12 May 2022 8:31 AM
Tags:
nicd
COVID-19
Covid-19 cases
Covid-19 resurgence
fifth wave
Professor Adrian Puren

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