Covid-19 could breathe its last in this country as researchers report endemic
A South African study of the epicenter of the global omicron surge offers a tantalizing clue that the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic may be coming to an end.
The wave of infection has moved at “unprecedented speed” and caused much milder disease than previous strains, a study of patients infected with Covid-19 at a major hospital in the southern city has shown. Africa where the first outbreak of the omicron variant was recorded.
“If this pattern continues and is repeated globally, we are likely to see a complete decoupling of case and death rates,” the researchers said. This suggests that “omicron could be a harbinger of the end of the epidemic phase of the Covid pandemic, ushering in its endemic phase.”
The Steve Biko University Hospital Complex study analyzed the records of 466 patients from the current wave and 3,976 from previous episodes of infection. Researchers who worked there included Fareed Abdullah, director of the board and infectious disease doctor at the hospital.
South Africa, the first country to experience a major omicron outbreak, is being watched closely to see how infections of the variant can spread around the world. The relatively young age of the country’s population and those hospitalized in the latest wave could also mask the severity of the disease caused by the variant, the researchers said.
Still, the data adds hope to researchers who fear that omicron’s high transmission rates are tempered by the mild illness it appears to be causing and the limited number of deaths resulting from its infections.
South African hospitalizations have reached half of their record in previous waves. Weekly excess deaths, a measure of the number of deaths compared to a historical average, peaked at less than a fifth of their record during the pandemic.
If other countries have similar experiences, it can help move the pandemic to an endemic phase, where widespread exposure confers immunity in more people, resulting in less severe illness. Still, the virus could mutate further into a strain that causes more serious illness and more easily escapes antibodies produced from previous infections or vaccinations.
The study showed that only 4.5% of patients with Covid-19 died during their hospital stay in the current wave, compared to an average of 21% in previous waves, according to the South African website. Medical Research Council. Fewer people were admitted to intensive care units and hospital stays were “considerably shorter”.
The admission rate rose rapidly but began to decline within 33 days of the first scan, according to the study. A snapshot of patients hospitalized on December 14 and 15 showed that nearly two-thirds of those infected with Covid-19 had been admitted for other reasons.
“This phenomenon has never been observed at this point before in the Steve Biko university hospital complex or elsewhere in South Africa,” according to the study. It “most likely reflects high levels of asymptomatic disease in the omicron-infected community,” she said.
He also found:
- Hospital stays averaged 4 days compared to 8.8 in previous waves
- The average age of those admitted was 39 years against almost 50 years in previous waves
- Intensive care unit admissions dropped from 4.3% to 1% of patients
- Admissions peaked at 108 versus 213 during the delta wave
The results “were comparable to city-wide trends when cases and admissions from all public and private hospitals were reported,” the researchers said. previous waves. “
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing. Only the title has been changed.
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