Omicron: Data suggests ‘virus is milder’ says expert
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Scientific research carried out by two experts in Johannesburg shows that the threat of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant may just be temporary as the number of deaths has nosedived significantly in recent weeks in South Africa. British BBC correspondent from South Africa Andrew Harding underlined that the impact of the new variant pales in comparison to the previous ones with experts telling him that the figure of patients requiring “oxygen or admissions to intensive care” is pretty low. While the Omicron variant is looking increasingly serious in the UK, with cases having reportedly yet to peak, the country where it originally stems from is seeing less and less cases.
Mr Harding said: “South Africa scientists are sounding increasingly optimistic about the impact of Omicron here.
“One of the country’s leading COVID-19 experts Salim Karim pointed to hospital data from the area where Omicron was first detected.
“He said that in comparison with previous waves of the pandemic, far fewer patients needed oxygen or admission to intensive care.”
Mr Harding said the epidemiologist argued the impact of the vaccine is not the only factor that should be credited for how things are turning around, as it applies to all ages.
The expert then made a reassuring claim that the Omicron variant is not as threatening as people first thought in Johannesburg and beyond.
The latest data coming from South Africa indicates that the virus may be milder and the death threats significantly lower.
Mr Karim claimed that only 25 percent of cases are critical.
He said: “In the current wave, right now, we have only one out of four cases that is severe, a marked difference.
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“And this is not merely an impact of vaccines because this reduction in severity goes across all ages, including ages which didn’t vaccinate.”
Vaccine expert and University professor Martine Nunes was equally positive, saying that previous viruses were more fatal than Omicron.
She said: “We see less mortality rates than the other waves. So, if we make a comparison I’d say there is no need to be worried.”
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The positive South African reports stand in stark contrast to how the situation has unraveled in Britain over the past few days.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa a little over two weeks ago but fast forward to today there are now 4,713 confirmed cases in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday that one person died in the UK after contracting the new variant.
He then warned people about the “sheer pace at which the virus accelerates through the population” and that they should shelve the idea that the virus is mild.
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