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Omicron: What lessons can we learn from South Africa

Omicron: What lessons can we learn from South Africa

In any case, many virologists hope that these data will allow conclusions to be drawn about the further infection process in the USA and Europe. There are certainly some positive reports.

The number of seriously ill people in South Africa is much lower than in previous waves. The proportion of patients who were given oxygen is four times less than in the case of a delta wave.

Not comparable

However, you cannot compare South Africa to Europe. Despite the strict lockdown regulations, many South Africans contracted the coronavirus earlier. In Gauteng it was 72 percent, according to the Ministry of Health, those people had a basic immunization as a result.

However, vaccination coverage in South Africa is only 26 percent – 38 percent of adults there are fully vaccinated.

This shows that the population of South Africa is young – the average age here is about 28 years, while in Europe it is 42. Older people often have worse training sessions.

Even if some virologists derive hope from the South African data: even in the African country, there is no way to speak of a sigh of relief. The government is rapidly increasing the low vaccination rate by rewarding people who have been vaccinated with shopping vouchers.

Implications for Europe

What does that mean for Europe now? Andreas Bergthaler, Head of the Research Group at the Molecular Medicine Research Center of the Molecular Medicine Research Center of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, ÖAW, is reassured as far as “there is no evidence yet of more serious disease processes caused by Omicron. According to the first clinical data from Europe, that is from England. and Denmark, but the disease course is not significantly milder than Delta,” the Austrian Academy of Sciences quotes.

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However, what the data shows: “Children are more likely to be affected by omicron than other variants,” says Bergthaler. This is also shown by a look at Great Britain, where there is a new record for hospital admissions for children aged zero to five: in England, hospitals registered a 39 per cent increase in this age group in just one week.

American epidemiologist Eric Weigl-Ding tweeted that Omicron appears to be 20 percent more difficult to treat in children.