Saturday, 11 December 2021 20:51

Covid-19 Daily Update: SA records 17 154 new cases with 36 related deaths.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 17 154 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 129 622. This increase represents a 16.4% positivity rate. 

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (50%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (15%). Western Cape accounted for 9%; North West accounted for 7%; Mpumalanga accounted for 6%; Free State accounted for 5%; Eastern Cape accounted for 4%; Limpopo accounted for 3%; and Northern Cape accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is 16.4% which is lower than yesterday (22.8%). The 7-day average is 24.4% today, which is lower than yesterday (25.5%).

NICD said a further 36 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 90 116 to date.

A little more than two weeks since omicron’s discovery a lot has been learned about the latest coronavirus variant. A lot remains to be discovered.

Early data from South Africa, the epicenter so far, shows that the virus appears to spread far faster than earlier strains but also doesn’t appear to be causing severe disease.

Nothing is definitive yet, so the world is still somewhat in the dark. With omicron cases doubling every few days in the U.K. and spreading in other places, policymakers and investors are grasping at any clues.

They had been moving toward the end of year with a little hope that the Covid-19 era was shifting into a newer, more manageable phase.

But now it’s not clear yet if 2022 will succeed where 2021 has been defeated: suppress the spread of the virus enough to stop the rolling infection waves and finally end social restrictions.

Initial lab studies indicate omicron is much more transmissible than even delta, the strain that spread rapidly across the globe, filling hospitals and boosting death rates.

They also show that it can infect the vaccinated or those who have already been ill with Covid-19.

What’s not known yet is how it developed, and whether it will cause more severe disease in countries with older populations than South Africa.

The World Health Organization is remaining cautious for now given so many unknowns, and the concern that any variant is a risk.