Sudden increase: Corona cases in South Africa doubled

Status: 01.12.2021 10:43 p.m.

Twice as many new corona infections within one day: In South Africa, the number of positive cases is skyrocketing. It is still unclear whether this is related to the new Omikron variant.

The number of those who tested positive for Corona in South Africa doubled within a day. Of around 52,000 tests, 8561 were positive, or 16.5 percent, reported the South African Institute for Communicable Diseases NICD.

On Tuesday, 4373 positive cases were reported, on Monday 2273. In absolute numbers, these are significantly fewer cases compared to the current situation in Germany. The quite high positive rate of 16.5 percent could, however, be an indication of rapid development and a high number of unreported infections in the country. At the beginning of November, around one percent of the tests were still positive.

In South Africa with its around 60 million inhabitants, more than 20,000 new infections per day were recorded in June and July, significantly more than now. At the beginning of November, an average of around 200 new infections per day were reported, but then the numbers rose significantly again.

Relation to omicron unclear

It is not yet clear whether the sudden increase is related to the new Omikron variant. The variant was first discovered in southern Africa and described in South Africa. The researcher Richard Lessells, who had contributed to the discovery of the omicron variant B.1.1.529, stated, however, that the mutant would “quickly become the dominant variant”.

At a briefing in the South African parliament, Lessells said that the number of hospitalizations was increasing and that the next few weeks would show how the new variant would work. The virus seeks the weak in order to live on by itself. “Vaccinations ensure that you do not go to the hospital, that you do not die, and they do it well even in the face of this new variant,” says Lessells.

To find out whether someone has the omicron variant, the genomes of the virus must be sequenced. Omikron was found in 74 percent of the genomes examined in November, according to the South African Institute for Communicable Diseases. Experts are currently investigating whether Omikron is more easily transmitted due to its mutations than the delta variant of the coronavirus that is currently predominant in many places and whether vaccines are still sufficiently effective against it.

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