Daily Covid cases in South Africa have fallen for the third day in a row, and hospital admissions are dropping only a month into its Omicron outbreak.
Data from the National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD) reveals only 8,515 people tested positive in the past 23 hours, down from 13,992 last Monday. The 40 percent drop is the greatest since the Omicron outbreak hit the nation.
Cases of Omicron now falling in Gauteng South Africa https://t.co/krIVpCoPMV— Luke O'Neill (@laoneill111) December 18, 2021
Hospitalizations dropped drastically with only 323 people admitted.
There was a big dip in testing this week, with 28,000 carried out compared to 45,000 last week, which may affect the case numbers.
Though the positive test rate has slightly sunk last week, suggesting that the outbreak could be waning.
Fatalities – which are the biggest lagging indicator – grew to 105 today in an 855 percent hike last Monday.
It marked the highest daily
figure in South Africa’s latest wave, yet is a fraction of the 844 daily deaths the nation recorded at the peak last winter.
South African doctors have insisted for weeks that Omicron is milder since raising the alarm about it on November 24.
This *looks* like good news – the number of new Omicron cases being identified each day seems to have started falling.— Colin Angus (@VictimOfMaths) December 21, 2021
But I'm pretty sceptical about that.
You can see a clear day of the week effect in the Delta data, and the latest data point is usually the lowest in the cycle pic.twitter.com/95B5a364vl
Yet, there has been a continuous debate over whether it is naturally milder or if South Africa is benefitting from very high levels of natural immunity after being struck by Delta only months ago.
South Africa has blamed the U.K. for panicking about Omicron, where Government scientists are warning of up to 6,000 daily deaths and 10,000 hospital admissions at the peak this winter.
The 8,515 daily infections
recorded across South Africa means 3.3 million people in the nation have tested positive over the course of the pandemic.
The NICD said there are almost 200,000 “active cases” in the nation.
It carried out 28,250 tests in the last 24 hours, and 29.9 percent were positive. For comparison, roughly five percent of the U.K.’s daily COVID tests are positive.
Most cases were recorded in Kwazulu-Natal in the east (2,496), followed by the former epicenter, Gauteng, in the northeast (1,890) and Western Cape (1,625).
South Africa’s positivity rate most recently peaked at 35 percent last Tuesday and has been trending downwards since.
Meanwhile, 328 infected people were accepted at South Africa’s 666 hospitals and 8,435 people with COVID are now receiving hospital care.
Omicron cases falling rapidly in South Africa. Doctors say their experience is that the symptoms of Omicron are mild. No major additional restrictions added. Should we have waited longer before applying restrictions? Were NPHET recommendations premature? pic.twitter.com/R6h0FUHiz3— Con Murphy (@ConMurphyCarlow) December 22, 2021
And 105 new deaths were recorded, getting the nation’s COVID fatality toll to 90,453.
The data from the nation suggests the outbreak is fading around a month after it was first seen, while ministers and scientists in the U.K. are panicking about the impact the wave will have over the following weeks.