RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The South African government, a country where only 26% of the population is vaccinated, announced in a release that it has overcome the covid wave of Omicron variant. “All indicators suggest that the country has passed the peak of the fourth wave,” South African officials said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement said the number of deaths in all provinces of the country had increased only “marginally.” This is a sign that the wave subsided as quickly as it grew, leading to the government’s decision to lift restrictions such as nighttime curfews.
Read also: Check out our coverage on curated alternative narratives
In South Africa, new infections fell nearly 30% last week from the previous week, from 127,753 to 89,781, while hospital admissions fell in eight of the country’s nine provinces.
“The speed at which the fourth wave associated with Omicron rose, peaked, and soon dropped is disturbing: a peak in four weeks and a steep decline in two weeks,” Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council wrote on Twitter.
Marta Nunes, a senior researcher in the Department of Vaccine and Infectious Disease Analysis at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, shared Groome’s optimism, telling the AP, “the decline in new cases nationally coupled with the continued decline in new cases here in Gauteng province, which has been the center of this wave for weeks, suggests that we have passed the peak.”
In this regard, she said that “it was a short wave (…) and the good news is that it was not very serious in terms of hospitalizations and deaths.”
“Although the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, hospitalization rates were lower than in previous waves,” the statement said. This is in line with what is happening in the rest of the world and Argentina, which surpassed 50,000 infections per day on Thursday, with only 35% of treatment beds at capacity.
Experts in South Africa feared that the sheer volume of infections could overwhelm the country’s hospitals and collapse the health care system. Still, so far, all indications are that Omicron appears to be causing less severe illness, with fewer hospitalizations, fewer patients requiring oxygen, and fewer deaths, disproving the prophecies of doom in the mainstream media.
With 74% of the country unvaccinated, the low lethality of the virus cannot be attributed to vaccination, as previously thought, but to the evolution of the virus itself, which mutates into more benign variants, and to the long-term natural immunity of people.