New cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa increased by 4,146 between Wednesday and Thursday, with Gauteng still accounting for the most new infections in the country, followed by KwaZulu-Natal.
According to the last update On a possible fifth outbreak of infections in South Africa, Sinenhlanhla Jimoh of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said the positivity rate had dropped slightly from 21.1% to 18.3%.
A winter wave of Covid-19 had been predicted for May in South Africa.
The NICD report said the seven-day average was 18.3% on Thursday, higher than Wednesday (18.0%) and that there had been a significant increase in the average number of cases over the seven previous days.
There had been an increase of 64 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours and as of Thursday 2,027 people were in hospitals with complications from Covid-19. Of these, 251 needed oxygen and 62 were on mechanical ventilation. Nationally, 192 people were in intensive care units and 149 in intensive care units, according to the latest report on hospitalizations and deaths due to complications of Covid-19.
During the fourth wave, doctors noted that despite a sharp increase in cases, there had not been a large increase in deaths and patients requiring intensive care or ventilation.
Gauteng still accounts for the most cases in the country, with 53%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 23% and the Western Cape with 11%. The Free State accounted for 4% of cases and the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 2%, while Limpopo and the Northern Cape each accounted for 1%.
Epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim said in his weekly update that cases had increased dramatically in South Africa and that the seven-day moving average of cases had just exceeded the threshold he uses to define the start and end of a wave (five cases per 100,000 inhabitants on a daily average).
“Furthermore, test positivity has soared well above 10%. I know it’s still April and I said earlier that I expected the fifth wave to start in early May, based on an inter-wave period of about 13 weeks (three months). Current increase occurs 11 weeks [after] the end of the fourth wave. But the current increase is not all it seems at first glance, as there is a high level of uncertainty as to what exactly is driving the current surge in cases in South Africa,” he said. declared.
NICD’s Dr Nicole Wolter said earlier this week that they believed two sublines of the Omicron variant, BA.4 and BA.5, were responsible for the spike in cases.
“It is not uncommon to detect new Omicron sublines. As SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread, it continues to evolve and gain mutations. When a group of genomes all contain the same set of mutations, they are referred to as a new lineage.
“There are many Omicron sublines (including BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3 detected in the fourth wave). While BA.4 and BA.5 are new Omicron sublines, they do not represent a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 and are currently still classified as Omicron,” she said. SM/MC