Recent confirmed cases of Covid-19 indicate that SA appears to have entered a new phase of the pandemic, says the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) .
The NICD found that the increase in cases was largely driven by two progeny – known as the sublineages BA.4 and BA.5 – of the first identified Omicron variant was established in SA late last year.
“In this new phase, high immunity at the population level in SA likely means that in the absence of a new, more severe variant, future spikes in infection will occur. It is.” unlikely to see large increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” the NICD said.
The institute said the new phase makes it increasingly difficult to use the same definitions and to interpret the data therein in the same way as in the last two years.
” For example, the current patterns show that in a context like SA with a high level of population immunity, it is possible to have a significant increase in transmission that does not overwhelm the healthcare system, even without imposing new restrictions.”
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The NICD suggested that sufficient surveillance should be in place to detect and respond to major changes in a timely manner.
“Changes could include an increase in the severity or vulnerability of the disease. Such monitoring will help ensure that the country’s healthcare system is not overwhelmed.
“It is also important that individuals have enough information to make decisions to protect themselves be able. Assessing individual risk factors will also influence individual behavior, such as mask wearing and the extent of contact with others. Those at highest risk of serious illness may choose to avoid high-risk situations, particularly when transmission is high,” the NICD said.
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